Hi. It’s Jenny at AnxietyBoss.com. Our question today is from Ann in Chicago. I feel very anxious when crossing bridges. Why is this?
Feeling anxious when around or when crossing bridges is called gephyrophobia. Symptoms of this may be, but are not limited to, a racing heart rate, dizziness, the feeling of being trapped, thinking that you will lose control or die, numbness or heart palpitations, all while crossing bridges.
Now as a result of this anxiety, you may also find yourself taking longer trips and tedious back roads to reach your destination without needing to cross a bridge in the process; however, this phobia is not to be confused with acrophobia, a fear of heights.
Fortunately, there are several ways to treat this and you are definitely not alone. It is important that you realize that you are in control of what you’re feeling and you are capable of changing your negative thoughts into less stressful ones. Now while crossing a bridge, close your eyes and try to direct your thoughts elsewhere. Somewhere where you feel no anxiousness and are relaxed. This is not an easy process at first, and it will take some time to train your mind to accept this kind of positive thinking in such an anxiety-inducing situation.
During this, do some deep breathing exercises. Remind yourself of how much easier your life will be when you triumph over this fear. If you are worried about the bridge collapsing, look up some facts about it beforehand. How long has it been around? How many people have traveled across it without collapsing? How sturdy is the material it is made out of?
Alongside self-therapy, there are also other options such as hypnotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy.