The quick answer to the question “can claustrophobia be cured” is a resounding yes.
So if you’re unfortunate enough to be claustrophobic – whether mildly or more deeply – then there are some things you can do to lessen your symptoms and overcome it completely.
Gradually desensitise yourself
Depending on the size of enclosed space that bothers you will dictate where you start with this process.
You shouldn’t go with desensitisation on your own – always have someone close at hand who can step in and reassure you if things don’t go totally to plan.
Start the process somewhere that you experience a mild sense of claustrophobia. Probably somewhere not too crowded either as too many people around can heighten the worry that accompanies it. You might be able to do that just by picking a different time of day so you’ve still got the enclosed space but not lots of people in it.
Sometimes you can’t do a dress rehearsal – for instance, if you’re due an MRI scan then it’s not practical to go through a mock scan. You just don’t get the choice.
Relaxation exercises can help
Claustrophobia can mean that we’re a lot less relaxed than we normally are.
All sorts of things pop into our mind – usually not exactly good things.
Learning to relax (and it is something most of us need to learn) is a good way to reduce any of the unpleasant side effects of claustrophobia.
Set aside some time each day to relax and chill out. Maybe even turn your phone off in the process.
If you’re not finding relaxation easy then it could be worth reprogramming your mind with a track like this one – it uses some neat science to get your brain’s state into the same one that it reaches when you are completely relaxed. And, because there’s some techie stuff behind it, that state stays for several hours after listening. So if you’re due somewhere that you know your claustrophobia would kick in, it’s well worth playing this to yourself to help you be as relaxed as possible.
Maybe use NLP
NLP (short for neuro linguistic programming) has lots of different techniques available.
One of them is a really effective way of getting rid of phobias.
It’s a generic technique – useful if you’ve got more than one thing affecting your life or if you want to “fix” problems encountered with a few friends – but it’s really powerful.
We rely on shortcuts in our mind – that way we don’t have to figure out what a chair or a door or anything else “does” or how to use it.
Which is great most of the time – it would be a pain in the neck to have to re-learn how to open a door just because it was a different size or colour or the handle or lock was in a different place.
But sometimes it works against us – including with things like claustrophobia.
What this technique does is literally scrub our memory of how to react to a specific fear – much like pressing the “delete” button our brain should have but doesn’t – which then allows us to replace that reaction afresh.
It’s quick – around 10 minutes should do it – and works near enough all the time.
If that sounds a good idea to you, check it out here.
Train your subconscious
The subconscious part of our mind looks after us – it does all the housekeeping that (frankly) we’d forget to do if we had to do it consciouly. Plus we’d be bored telling ourselves to breath, blink, pump blood and all the many other things our subconscious does.
One thing it does – and it does well – is protect us.
Which is what being claustrophobic is doing – it’s protecting us from real or imagined danger.
Because your subconscious has so many things on its mind, you can’t consciously tell it to do something. If you don’t believe me, try and come back in an hour or two and see if it’s still obeying the command you gave – almost certainly not.
You have to deal with your subconscious on its own level and there are a couple of ways to easily do that:
- Give it commands at a subconscious level by listening to a subliminal track. You’re unlikely to consciously hear the messages but your subconscious will and it will take them on board and change your behaviour for the better
- Listen to a hypnosis track – this works much the same as the subliminal track but some people prefer to be able to consciously hear what’s being said, even though you’re deeply relaxed and your subconscious is probably more alert than the rest of you
Either technique works really well – it’s up to you which gels better with your conscious mind (the part that will click the link and press the play button when the track has downloaded).