Positive Thinking for Agoraphobia
Do you know what to think?
Positive thinking for agoraphobia might take some time mastering but I want to encourage you to be patient with yourself as you learn, especially since negative thinking is usually very dominant in those suffering with agoraphobia. It's hard to know exactly what to say to yourself when you are challenging your agoraphobia.
After practicing the methods taught in positive thinking, you may still be wondering what you should be saying to yourself during your practice sessions.
Many of you would agree that when challenging your agoraphobia and coming up against those dreadful panic sensations, that it's extremely difficult to have long, drawn out, logical, conversations with yourself.
For the most part, learning how to have these conversations with yourself is good practice, however, during practice opportunities it is better to have quick, short, truthful, answers to the most common negative thoughts that you have.
The purpose for learning and doing the work as expressed in the positive thoughts section is to get you into the habit of finding answers for yourself. It's important to note that almost any answer you have when doing the work can be translated into a shorter response. By practicing those questions, you are preparing yourself ahead of time.
What does your self talk sound like? It's very important to find out what your most common negative thoughts are when you are anxious. If you are not sure, it may help to take time each day to write down your random thoughts. By writing down your random thoughts, you may find specific thoughts that repeat themselves that you were not aware of before.
Once you have a list of the most common negative, self-defeating thoughts are, you will be more able to find positive replacements. Don't be afraid to write them down. It helps to have a notebook when working through positive thinking.
Some examples of what you might say to yourself when practicing your positive thinking for agoraphobia.
These feelings will not hurt me.
They are only anxiety symptoms and nothing more.
These feelings are distressing but not dangerous.
I can feel these feelings anywhere, nothing bad ever happens.
It is not the place but how I am feeling inside that I don't like.
I am in control.
No matter where I am, I am my own safe person.
I don't have to run home to feel better.
I can stay still, allow the feelings to come and go on their own.
Panic never lasts.
I am strong, I am calm.
I can resist the urge to leave. I will wait for the feeling to pass.
I can relax and float through this.
If I panic, it's okay.
Your list might end up looking something like this or you might have different quick responses based on your particular negative thoughts. No matter what, your list will be customized to you and your needs. You can even write down these quick responses on an index card and take them with you wherever you go.
It will take some time to adopt these new thoughts. It's important to repeat these new thoughts whenever possible. It's best to repeat them as soon as you get a negative thought, but even if you don't, repeating them to yourself is good practice and burns them into your memory.