This week on the Anxiety Slayer podcast, we’re responding to several listener questions asking what helps when anxiety leads to feeling housebound or agoraphobic; including venturing out again after lockdown.
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Points covered in this episode:
Begin by asking yourself questions and gathering information
Fear of leaving home due to anxiety is a very individual experience. Asking questions and finding out what exactly you feel anxious about is a good start.
Questions to ask: Do you feel unsafe to be away from home? Do you fear being ill or having an anxiety attack? Does it feel overwhelming to you to be away from your safe place? Do you feel anxious about being around other people? Or is it something else?
Once you know the specifics of this kind of anxiety, you can use techniques like EFT Tapping to dissolve the anxiety and help you feel more confident and comfortable about leaving your home.
Explore the positives about leaving home
List three places you would love to visit and why you would love to visit them. Look at some pictures of the people or places you would like to visit and focus on building the desire to leave home, rather than the obstacles anxiety is putting between you and where you want to go.
Remain open to possibility.
Anxiety may tell you nothing works, or you’re stuck like this. Anxiety is not telling you the truth.
EFT Tapping is a highly effective technique for agoraphobia, and finding someone you can work with towards dissolving your anxiety and building your confidence is highly possible.
Tapping for calming anxiety before you leave home
Try standing by your front door and tapping the EFT Points through, noting where you feel any anxiety in your body, and keep tapping until you feel more at ease.
For example: Start tapping by the front door, then when you feel OK with that, put your hand on the door handle and tap again until you feel calm. Put your shoes on and tap again.
Try taking a step outside and Tapping again while taking steady breaths. The idea is not to force yourself to go out, but to diffuse any fear around leaving home. You might choose to go through this exercise for a few days without leaving your house.
Take small steps
Keep drawing your mind back to what you can do, and then try building on it in small steps. Maybe visit a local park, or go for a short walk.
One way to do this is to stand by your front door and use Tapping until you feel calm, then walk out the door and walk for 5 minutes away from your home, then turn around and come back.
Build internal strength and self-appreciation.
Look at what you already have and what you can do every day.
People with Agoraphobia often just want to feel safe, one listener said, “I just want to be me again.”
Here are some questions to sit with to get back to feeling like yourself: How can you be you indoors? What do you like to do that you can do anywhere? How can you be more you without it having anything to do with leaving your home?
The idea behind these questions is to not be defined by going out, or to feel less than because leaving home feels too much.
Anxiety will always pull your mind to what you think you don’t have, or can’t do. Counter it by doing what you can do and noting with awareness and gratitude what you do have.
In conclusion: Seven things that help you get out of the house:
Build a desire to go out rather than feeling pressure that you should go out.
Find inspiration, desire, and meaning in moving beyond your current boundaries.
Build enthusiasm and possibility.
Put pictures in a journal or on your fridge, somewhere where you can see them.
Learn skills to help you dissolve anxiety.
Learning EFT Tapping can help you calm anxiety anywhere. You can use it to feel more comfortable before you leave home, to calm your specific fears and concerns, and to help you feel safe when you feel like running back home.
You can try Tapping in our free Anxiety Slayer Starter Course or work with a professional, like a therapist at BetterHelp to help you feel safe and calm about leaving home.
You can get ALL of our guided relaxations and Tapping Sessions when you become an Anxiety Slayer Patron at patreon.com/anxietyslayer