Anxiety at the Mall- What to do?

shopping mallToday a reader ask about having anxiety at the mall and what to do.

Hi Jill I’m afraid of shopping malls,so my therapist told me to to go to a shopping mall, enter sit at the food court till my anxiety is at %25 near the entrance, breathe till anxiety level is %25 then enter only one store near the exit, stay again till anxiety is at %25. When I left the store I panicked.

I am now afraid to do this exercise. Do you think this is a good idea? I’m kind of sick of driving to this mall every 3rd day to practice.

Then go every 2 days or every day :). Seriously, I am sorry you are experiencing anxiety at the mall, but this is a crucial time in your recovery…

What you’re describing is the hardest part- getting out there and doing the thing you fear. Of course since you have been practicing and had a panic attack, it feels like you’re not really progressing.

But believe me you are. And unless you face those fears in a controlled, gentle way, they will continue to plague you. Sounds like your therapist has a good plan.

I would suggest giving it your all and wholly participate. Expect to feel anxious in the situation. It’s part and parcel of the way anxiety is. It is a habit, and so it will continue to bother you for a time.

However,do *not* slack off on your homework. This is where you will make great strides, so please do not give into your fear and give up…

Remember: consistency and determination are key. It is well worth the effort. YOU are well worth the effort. Know you are doing this for yourself and once the fear is overcome, you will be so dang happy. You can do it!! :)

I too used to suffer from anxiety at the mall, as well as a wide variety of other so called every day situations. But by consistently putting myself out there and sticking with it, I won the battle.

If you need a little help you can always listen to some effective self hypnosis downloads to get you psyched for your exposure work. The Beat Fear and Anxiety Pack from Hypnosis Downloads is a great for this (Click on this link to learn more).

You can listen to the downloads before you leave the house, and even in the car on your way to the mall. Heck, you can even listen in on your headphones while you’re right there at the mall! (this is my favorite way to calm down while doing exposure work, keeping my thoughts positive) :)

Keep up the good work. I hope you will let me know how it goes!

I wish you peace,
Jill G.

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4 Responses to Anxiety at the Mall- What to do?

  1. Terra says:

    Great advice on the mall exposure. I also had this problem years ago. I used to dread the next mall trip…why does it feel like it is miles exit to exit! ;) One thing I did was remind myself that no one there cares what I am doing, they are all doing their own thing. It may help to go with someone at first. When I started to panic, it would always help me to stand still for a moment & re-group. Bolting for the exit made it worse for me. Keep fighting….you got this:)

    • JillG says:

      It’s true that no one cares what we are doing. This fact has given me much comfort as I have learned to venture out into the world in my anxiety recovery. And I agree, she “got this!” Thank you for the comment Tara!

  2. Kathy says:

    I , too , suffered in malls, churches, you name it . One area I so want to conquer , and it is a big one:driving. I have done anxiety’s worst cousin…avoidance. I can do side roads with no traffic but red light and busy roads -my mind goes back to all the times I have had panic attacks in the car. It is hard to practice as I do not want to put others at harm , operating a vehicle. My world has gotten smaller and smaller. With the addition of a son with serious health issues and now a job cut for my spouse, an aging mother, the stressors are big. More than anything, I want to be “on the road again.” Blessings to all.

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