6 Tips for Dealing With Crowds

The Nystrom & Associates provider consulted for this article is Dr. Karin Ryan, PsyD, LP, Clinic Director, Outpatient Therapist.      Do you ever start to feel panicked when you’re in a crowd? Does coming to the state fair simultaneously make you very excited and very anxious?  If so, you are not alone. Dealing with crowds can be uncomfortable for many people and stir up various emotions. Sometimes big crowds and large events can be overstimulating. Keep reading for helpful tips from Dr. Karin Ryan so you can feel calm and at ease when dealing with crowds.   Related: 10 Tips to Make Therapy More Effective

Nystrom & Associates on Twin Cities Live 

Watch Dr. Karin Ryan on Twin Cities Live  at the Minnesota State Fair.   

1. Anticipate It  

If you are planning to go to a crowded place, anticipate it. When you know you’re going to a large event like the fair, be aware of the crowds and visualize yourself staying calm, managing the lines, taking time to walk around, and being near others.   Related: The ‘Stupid Mental Health’ Walk Trend

2. Check In With Your Body

Taking short, shallow breaths is common when you're anxious and overwhelmed. To reconnect with your body, the first thing you can do is to slow down and take a deep breath. Release any tension and continue to take deep breaths.   When dealing with crowds, you must also check in with your body. If it’s an outdoor event, ensure you get in the shade and are properly hydrated.  

3. Balance Negative Thoughts 

Listen to your thoughts, whether they are tense, anxious, or negative. If they are negative, balance them with an “and” statement affirming you are safe and okay.   Related: 4 Anxiety-Related Negative Thought Patterns Dr. Karin Ryan describes some examples of self-talk “and” statements:  
  • "There are so many people here, I feel overwhelmed, and I am okay. I can leave any time I need to."  
  • "Everyone is walking so slow, I hate this, and I knew it would be like this; it is not hurting me." 
  • "It is so crowded it makes me lightheaded, and I can sit down and relax a minute." 
  • "It will be crowded, and I can handle it." 

4. Remember the Positive 

Remember why you wanted to go to the event or are in the crowd in the first place. For instance, “I come to the fair and don’t mind dealing with the crowds because I love the giant slide, good food, and the community.” Or, “It is worth being in this crowded stadium to see my favorite team in person.” Focusing on the positive during chaotic moments can help reduce anxiety-related thoughts. 

5. Take Breaks  

Taking breaks in quieter or less crowded places is important when dealing with crowds. Find somewhere you can relax that’s not as crowded as the primary areas. Dr. Karin Ryan states, “It can be helpful to have your back against a wall. Sit under a tree or simply sit on a bench off the main roads.”

6. Have Support 

Do not suffer in silence. Let those you are with know that crowds can be hard for you. They can check in with you and offer ideas or solutions to help. Don't feel like you have to hide it. 

A Word From Nystrom & Associates 

Dealing with crowds can be challenging. If you’re having difficulty with crowds impacting your daily life, therapy can help. Talk with us at 1-844-NYSTROM or request an appointment online.  Related: How to Start Therapy: A Step-by-Step Guide

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