6 Ways Not To Feel Claustrophobic At Malls!


If you are the type of person that has to buy Christmas presents but often feel claustrophobic at the malls, we’ve got you covered on how to learn to overcome your anxiety at malls…

It’s the holiday season, and you love it. Visiting your family, the Christmas decorations everywhere, and the couple of days off from work that you get! There’s only one problem: You need to buy presents, but you can’t stand going to malls….they make you feel claustrophobic!

It’s become a real setback for you, because when your coworkers invite you to the mall for some coffee and shopping, you find yourself mumbling something about having to take care of your sick grandmother. Except your grandmother lives across the country and is as healthy as can be! You are running out of excuses and you know they seem a little odd to your friends.

Malls can be a little daunting, especially during the holiday season when they are full of shoppers, new gadgets, and the never-ending Christmas music. However, they are places where people meet, have fun, and of course do the holiday shopping.

You don’t need to keep making excuses! Try these ideas:

  • Start by going to smaller malls when they are not too busy. If you feel like running out of there, just breathe slowly and pay attention to the pleasant things around you. For example, look at the delightful toys on display or talk to a salesperson about a beautiful blouse.
  • Ask a trusted friend or family member to help you “practice” going to malls. Set off to shopping centers with them for a little while as often as you can. If you start feeling uneasy, tell your friend to engage in a pleasurable conversation with you. For example, chat about your favorite food or what you love about men.
  • Plan something enjoyable to do at the mall with a few friends. Maybe go get a mani/pedi or a cup of delicious coffee. Focus on how wonderful it is and it will fend off your angst.
  • Don’t try to buy all of your gifts on one trip to the mall. It’s easier if you go to the shopping center for shorter periods of time, at least at first. Get a couple of presents each time you go until you’re done.
  • If you feel like leaving as quickly as possible, remember it’s just anxiety, and relax. It will pass if you give it some time.
  • If you just cannot seem to make it through a shopping mall trip, then shop for the rest of your gifts online in the comfort and safety of your own home.

Finally, if you notice your nervousness at malls (or anywhere else for that matter) does not get better with these ideas, please talk to your doctor. You may have anxiety that needs medical treatment.

Let me know how it goes for you! And please say hi to Santa at the mall for me…


Dr. Jessica Diaz-Nagel

I am a bilingual psychiatrist, writer, and life coach from Caracas, Venezuela. I love helping people, reading, and writing on different health topics. In my spare time I like to take long walks, learn new things, and travel.