If you get panicked by crowds, you might not even know it. You might just tense up or get angry. (I got snippy at the farmers market for years before I noticed the pattern.) And certain crowded spots, like Times Square or an emptying stadium, can freak anyone out. As Dr Liz Lasky says in Time Out New York, it helps to have a safety plan.
Photo by Amy West
One basic way to cut through a crowd is to keep your eyes on your destination. That signals your path to others and helps you focus on the goal rather than the obstacles.
Here are a few more ways to make it through a crowd without panicking, combining Dr Lasky's tips with some of our own:
- Arrive having eaten: The better you're hydrated, fed, and dressed for the weather, the better you can stay in control. Bring along some water or a snack as well.
- Set a meeting point: If you're travelling with someone else, agree on your destination, and where to meet up (outside the crowd) if you need to separate.
- Look for pit stops: Spot places you can hide from the main crush of the crowd and catch your breath.
- Tune it out: As Dr Lasky recommends, turn on some music to engage your mind. Try moving along with the music; treat your movement through the crowd like a subtle dance. It feels goofy but it helps you loosen up.
- Recite a mantra: TONY writer Jaime Lutz walked through Times Square repeating, "This is fine," like the cartoon dog from the meme, and found that worked well. Things aren't great, and you might feel like you're melting alive, but you don't have to be happy; you just have to make it through.
- Reward yourself: Once you're out of the crowd, breathe deeply, have a little snack, and congratulate yourself. Really bake into your head how good it feels to plan, maintain, and come out the other end of a stressful situation. That will help you remember to do the same next time, even if you're caught off guard.