Tip #83: For every negative thought you have about a place, think of a positive one.
The why: No dear reader, I am not referring to ways to avoid that emo rock group here. I am talking about anxiety triggered by certain places.
We all have them; a bus, the train, clubs, bars, family reunions, shopping malls, cemeteries, exam halls.
The list of anxiety-inducing places can include literally anywhere, from the most innocent little toy shop to the huge scary theme park. The list of anxiety-inducing places can also be everywhere, from your front door to the ends of the earth.
This is because when you have anxiety, it doesn’t matter that rationally if you’re in a toy shop you’re unlikely to be suddenly attacked by a group of angry jack-in-the-boxes, or if you’re taking the same route you’ve taken every day that you’re likely going to get stuck or lost.
Anxiety is an inherently irrational ailment.
So, how do you recondition your mind to not fear the places you used to love, or at least, have to use every day?
Well, everything in life is about a very delicate balancing act.
Imagine two large scales. On one side, is positivity, on the other, negativity.
Now the perfect balance will be tipped toward the positive side, but with enough negativity to ensure that the scales don’t fall over.
This is because if you were positive 100% of the time, not only would that be exhausting (imagine all the muscles from smiling) but would also mean that you are probably suppressing a lot of emotions. Not good.
When you have anxiety, it is the other way round. The scales are tipped dangerously far on the side of negativity, with only a tiny bit of positivity stopping the scales from tipping over the edge.
So, what do you need to solve this problem?
No, not like the gym equipment.
Whenever you think a negative thought about a place you need to go to, think of a positive memory you’ve had at that place.
For instance, if you’re going to the club and begin to feel highly anxious and think:
“What if I can’t get out and I’m trapped surrounded by sweaty, vodka-based, people?”
Instead, think of a happy time you have had at a club, or out with friends (that is if you can remember).
This positive reinforcement will act as a counter-weight for the anxiety you feel about going to certain places.
Reassociate the anxiety-inducing world with happy times and good things using all the positive memories you have about it.
Restore the balance.