Pin Me

Top Tips on How to Overcome Claustrophobia

written by: Malka M. Feast • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 7/20/2010

Do you feel like the walls are caving in on you? Does your heart race or your palms get sweaty when you become anxious in claustrophobic situations? Then this article will give you tips on overcoming claustrophobia.

  • slide 1 of 4

    Feeling Boxed In?

    Have you ever experienced the feeling of the walls closing in on you? Or felt as though you were trapped inside a box? These are positive signs of claustrophobia. Claustrophobia is the fear of being in confined places. Studies indicate that claustrophobia can be caused by a traumatic event from childhood such as being locked in a dark closet or even a frightful car accident during adulthood. Fear is a normal part of human nature, and helpful in some environments. By this statement, I mean if you were placed in a life or death situation, then it is perfectly normal to feel fearful, as it puts your body on high alert to get you out of danger.

    Fear of being locked in a closet will not literally kill you, but this is what your subconscious mind is misleading you to think. Most people who live with this illness believe that there is no cure for it, but here are some of the top tips used to overcome claustrophobia.

  • slide 2 of 4

    Tips for Overcoming Claustrophobia

    • Find Your Comfort Zone - Clear your mind and submerge the clutter of your panicky thoughts with pure thoughts that bring you serenity. Think positive and rational thoughts to drive away the irrational ones. Clearing the mind of these thoughts is a key to overcoming claustrophobia.
    • Meditation - This method also involves clearing your mind, but instead you will clear the mind completely and think of nothing (fade to black).
    • Controlled Breathing Technique - Practice taking deep breaths. Remember to breathe in through your nose filling your lungs with air and hold it for about five seconds. Now slowly exhale the air through your mouth.
    • Face Your Fear(s) - Whether it is in a cramped elevator or a room without any windows, go to these settings to trigger the flare up. The triggering process will aid you in the disassociation of peril in these settings.
    • Hypnosis - With the help of a trained psychotherapy specialist, the root of the problem can become exposed and the correct rational thoughts can be implanted. The subconscious will be trained to think rationally. This process does not magically cure you with one treatment. You may need to have a few sessions in order to attain positive results.
    • Medication - For those of you who believe that your case is severe, at your doctor's discretion, beta-blockers and anti- anxiety medications can be taken during an episode, or before you place yourself in a situation where you would normally have a flare up.
  • slide 3 of 4

    Feel Wide Open

    A newer model American Airlines Airbus A300-600 inbound to John F. Kennedy International Airport. 

    Just think about the life you can live after overcoming claustrophobia. Riding in a crowded elevator will become a breeze. You will be able to enjoy a road trip with a carload of friends. You might also become the highlight of the party instead of a "wall flower" near the exit door. There is no need to fear the MRI machine if you should ever need to have this procedure done. Plus, wouldn't it be nice to take a plane across country to see loved ones? The edge has been taken off and replaced with relaxation. No more living in fear because with the implementation of these useful tips, claustrophobia will become non-existent in your life.

  • slide 4 of 4

    Image Credit

    Picture released into the public domain by Eheik