Do you panic in queues?
Maybe at the supermarket, the bank, the post office?
If so, you're certainly not alone. Here's what so many of my clients tell me.
I feel trapped in the queue
I feel like people are looking at me - they can see I'm panicking
I can't breathe
My palms get sweaty
My hands shake when I am paying for my goods
There are times when I've just walked out of the shop
I want to walk out, but then I think people would stare and I'd be so embarrassed
I spend ages hanging around, waiting for the queue to get shorter
I dread going to the shops!
Many people experience this feeling of being trapped, embarrassed and panicky in queues.
This can happen particularly in busy places, such as the supermarket, the bank or high street shops.
These panic symptoms come under the umbrella of Agoraphobia: an intense fear and anxiety when in a real or anticipated place or situation where escape might be difficult.
The word Agoraphobia literally means "fear of the marketplace”. It’s based on the Greek word 'Agora'(market)– so you’re certainly not alone – people have been suffering from this for thousands of years!
So how can you stop feeling so panicky in queues?
When I help my clients overcome anxiety - whether they experience it in queues or otherwise - I work on three levels:
1. Mastering Thoughts
It's true that you get what you think about. When panic starts - if you keep focusing on it, it will get worse. Learn to have happier and calmer thoughts, and you'll feel happier and calmer.
2. Mastering Emotions
I teach my cients techniques such as Emotional Freedom Techniques EFT Tapping which calms the activity of the Amygdala ( the part of your brain that controls fight, flight and freeze, i.e panic)
3. Clearing Limiting Beliefs
Understanding the underlying limiting-belief systems, that are causing - thoughts and behaviours that create your anxiety.
To cover all three in depth is beyond the scope of this blog post
However lets start with mastering your thoughts. I'm going to give you some simple, fast-acting, tips that can help you alleviate anxiety in the moment - in the queue.
Then I'll show you a quick way to uncover your beliefs.
I'm not going to tell you to just stop having panicky thoughts - you probably already know that, that doesn't work.
The quickest and most effective thing you can do for yourself is get good at distration thinking.
Here are some Distraction Techniques
Do a distracting maths puzzle in your head. Make it something that's not too difficult, or too easy - for example - what is 7 x 34?
Spell a friend's name backwards..... then figure out what words can be taken from that name - eg Mary Smith could be mat hat, maths, try, smarty and so on
Count Your Gratitudes
Make a mental list of everything you are grateful for; not just the big things, such as family and home, but also the things you probably (like everyone) take for granted. These may be things such as your eyesight, your ability to walk, the money you're going to make your purchases with, and so on
Not only is this a great distraction technique, but focusing on the positive aspects of your life will lift your mood immediately –it’s a great shortcut to happiness!
Use the time to make plans, whether that’s planning the evening meal, or something bigger like filling out an application for a job, or goals for the week.
We’re often we’re so busy dashing from one thing to another that we don’t spend enough time planning things out. Planning will distract you when you're stuck in a queue. It will also help you make a success of the things you want to do in life – so use queue time, as plan time!
Get Into the Habit
Don't wait until you're in a queue and feeling anxious to start practicing these techniques. Get into the habit of doing these on a daily basis. The more you get used to doing them, the easier it will be for you to switch to them in anxious situatons.
Do this practice each day when you have some spare time, and in an environment where you are safe to be distracted for a few minutes.
Then, the next time you're in a queue and that panicky feeling begins, you'll find it easy to distract your thoughts, and, you'll be amazed at how powerful this can be in stopping panic in it's tracks.
Now take this Quiz
We all live our lives according the the beliefs we hold in the subconsious. Some of those beliefs can be very helpful - such as "I am good enough", "I am loveable".
But then some of those beliefs are negative; they limit our capacity to lead a stress free life - beliefs such as "I have to struggle", "I have to prove myself," and so on.
Over thousands of client sessions, I’ve discovered that there are FOUR main limiting beliefs that cause problems for people - in relationships, with self-confidence and cause anxiety.
I have designed this Belief Assessment Quiz to help you discover the percentage to which these 4 self-limiting beliefs may be impacting on your life.
Take this free quiz to find out how these beliefs apply to you and what you can do to start letting them go.