If you feel stressed out or nervous when you approach a large crowd of people, you’re probably dealing with crowd anxiety. It can be hard to avoid crowds, especially if you live in a larger city or urban environment. Thankfully, there are ways you can lessen the symptoms of your anxiety and face your fear of crowds head-on to feel more comfortable around large groups.
Picture yourself feeling calm and at peace. If you start feeling anxious, take a few deep breaths, but keep picturing yourself in a crowded space. Exposing yourself to crowds when you’re at home can lead to less anxiety when you encounter them in real life.
Having someone next to you can lower your anxiety levels. If you know you’re headed somewhere with a large crowd, consider asking a friend or family member to come with you. You can tell them ahead of time that you might get a little anxious, but that you’ll be okay.
If you feel yourself getting anxious, pause and take some breaths. Breathe in through your nose for 5 seconds, then slowly let the breath out of your mouth. Do this 5 to 10 times until you feel yourself calming down.
Find something non-threatening that you can stare at. When you feel the anxiety coming on, quickly look at the time on your watch or the items on the shelves in a grocery store. Focus on these things instead of your anxiety to distract your brain and calm your panic.
Daily meditation can help you soothe your mind. Take 5 to 10 minutes every day to empty your head and think about nothing at all. If you’re having trouble, look up a guided meditation video to help you along.
Your friends and family members can help you with anxiety. Reach out to the ones you love and let them know what you’re going through. You never know—they might be dealing with the exact same thing.
\Work your way up to lower your anxiety levels. At first, you might want to start out with a big group, like a crowded restaurant. From there, you can try taking a crowded train or going shopping in a crowded mall. Take baby steps so you don’t overwhelm yourself, but try to expose yourself to bigger and more crowded areas. It can be tough to do this on your own, so if you’re having trouble, get support from a mental health professional.