Afraid to leave your hometown because of anxiety?

I am afraid I will never leave my hometown because of my anxiety (Help!)

In this guide we will take a closer look at how anxiety can make you feel afraid of leaving your hometown, and how it impacts an individual’s progress. 

We will also discuss how anxiety impacts your experience of change and what you can do to work towards leaving your hometown. 

What to do if I am afraid to leave my hometown because of my anxiety?

Anxiety can be crippling and can hold you back from new experiences- leaving your hometown to pursue better opportunities can be one of them.

Your anxiety can bring about many fears which makes the thought of letting go of what is familiar stressful.

In brief, some of the things you can do are:

  • Deal with your irrational beliefs
  • Desensitize yourself to the unfamiliarity
  • Seek familiarity 
  • Strengthen relationships

Living with Anxiety

The symptoms of anxiety can be debilitating- it affects your ability to manage your life, your responsibilities, and your relationships. A person can develop anxiety after various life experiences and events, they can also be neurobiologically vulnerable to the condition.

According to cognitive theorist, anxiety is developed as a result of maladaptive core beliefs that have been developed as a result of prior life events that proved to be stressful. 

These core beliefs lead to developing irrational thoughts which can impact one’s emotions and behaviour.

A person living with anxiety struggle with thoughts of hopelessness, inadequacy, fears of death and possible unfortunate events on a daily basis. 

They are fixed on irrational fears that something might go wrong, that they are incapable of handling a crisis or even taking care of themselves which can hold them back from making lifestyle changes or putting themselves out there to meet the demands of daily life.

Anxiety and change

Let us take a closer look at some of the negative impacts of anxiety which could be holding you back from embracing change

Anxiety and self esteem

People who live with anxiety struggle with low self esteem. They struggle with the thoughts of worthlessness and believe that they are not important. They also feel like they are incapable or have no talents and fear judgement and eventually, rejection.

These beliefs, developing out of their low esteem, can hold them back from trying new things and putting themselves out there- they might even be afraid to go out for fear of being judged.

You might be struggling with low self esteem which holds you back from making changes in your life. Your irrational beliefs related to your anxiety can make it difficult to socialize and make you feel incapable of getting accepted into college, getting a job, or making new friends.

Anxiety and Uncertainty

Moving to a new place can bring about fears that change always brings- uncertainty. You might be afraid of what you do not know- for example, the college environment, the people there, the demands of your work.

There is an underlying discomfort in adjusting to something different- you might fear what you do not know. This could be one of the reasons why moving out and readjusting to a new culture, new place can be daunting which makes change even more difficult. 

Anxiety and decision making

New research has found that anxiety can impact decision-making by over engaging the brain with distractions, it causes our brain to be incapable of thinking objectively and logically. 

We become overwhelmed by our thoughts which become distractions that can impact our ability to make decisions. Your beliefs about yourself, others, and the world can be those distractions that keep you from making decisions and taking action.

Working towards leaving your hometown

If moving out of your hometown is something that you have wanted to do for a long time but your anxiety has been holding you back, perhaps it is time to actively work towards getting yourself ready for change. 

Let us take a look at some of the things you can do to prepare yourself, starting with being mindful of your strategies and setting small, realistic goals.

Deal with your irrational beliefs

Taking a closer look at the thoughts that make you anxious could be a good place to start, if you want to make changes in your life. 

You can either speak to a professional about your anxieties and your fears or you can choose to engage in self- therapy. The plan here is to rationalize your thoughts. 

This could involve talking to someone who has taken the step to move out from their hometown. Perhaps talking to them and their experiences can help you rationalize assumptions you might have made about leaving home. 

Desensitize yourself to the unfamiliarity

You can also make use of a common strategy of desensitizing yourself to the things that cause you anxiety. It is a strategy used by behavioural therapists to deal with anxiety and fears. 

The plan is to break down the process down to small steps and getting familiar with them so as to desensitize yourself from what causes fear and anxiety in you.

You can start with researching about the place you want to move to, or the college, or the place of employment. As you get familiar with the idea of the place, you can consider trying out new experiences that cause you to face change.

It could start small- like eating at a new place within your town, trying a new way of doing things, talking to people you come across everyday but never got to know. It could even begin with you trying out a new flavor of ice cream.

The idea is to get you comfortable with change and things that are unfamiliar. You can graduate to more challenging goals such as driving out to a new town, spending a few days there to explore. You can even choose to move closer to home first, after which you can move further out. 

Seek familiarity 

If you have been able to get comfortable with the idea of moving out, to make your change more comfortable seek out things in the new place that are familiar to you. 

It could be seeking out people you know, friends you grew up with who might have moved to the same location. It could be things within the new city that reminds you of home. 

The goal is to have something that is familiar around you when you move into the new town/city/country that can make the change seem less daunting.

Strengthen relationships

Moving to a new place, especially a place where you do not know anyone, can be alienating and lonely. Especially if you have trouble making new friends and socializing in general. 

Take time to strengthen the relationships you have now- be it your friends or your family. While you might not be able to meet people often, you can spend time nurturing the relationship to develop a support system even when you’re far away.

You can connect with them virtually and they can provide you with emotional support on days when you find the change especially challenging. 

The plan is to build these support systems as you get comfortable with the idea of moving away.

While these steps can help you get familiar with the idea of change and overcome your anxiety of moving away from your hometown, you have to remember to be mindful of your limits. 

Set your goals in a way that they are attainable and realistic so that they do not cause more distress as you work on your plan of action.

Conclusion

In this guide we have taken a closer look at how your anxiety is related to your fears and inaction. We also discussed how you can begin preparing yourself to cope with change in the event that you choose to move out of your hometown. 

Frequently asked questions related to “I am afraid I will never leave my hometown because of my anxiety”

Why do I have anxiety about leaving home?

Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder which makes a  person with agoraphobia afraid to leave environments they are familiar with or consider to be safe. 

This fear comes as a result of trauma, socialization, and irrational beliefs related to the fear of being judged, ridiculed for their symptoms of anxiety.

People with this disorder show symptoms of a panic attack when they are in public which can further aggravate the condition.

Why do I get anxious when I go out of town?

Experiencing symptoms of anxiety and panic while in an unfamiliar area can lead to developing anxiety whenever you have to leave home. 

Hearing about negative travel experiences of others can spike anxiety in some people. You might be fearful of the uncertainty of a new place because of the fact that it is unfamiliar and you are alone in some sense. 

This can cause anxiety at the thought of travelling, especially when you have had prior negative experiences to travelling. 

How do you know when it’s time to leave your hometown?

There comes a time when the thought of leaving becomes more than a thought. Some of the things that might signal that you have outgrown your hometown can be:

  • The present town no longer meets your demands for experience and learning.
  • An Inner Calling, your purpose, might need you to seek out experiences and places of learning that are far better than what is offered in your hometown.
  • Negative experiences can also prove to be a good reason why you might need change, to set down new roots, and build your own future.
  • Need for space often times our family ties keeps us from growing into our full potential. Meeting new people and experiencing new learnings can be excellent in helping you grow as an adult and as a person.

What happens to people who never leave their hometown?

Research has found that people who do not leave their hometown, engage with the larger world outside tend to be less educated, less financially well off, and less optimistic. They also tend to be less open to new people and new cultures which can limit their own growth and experiences. 

 

Why should you move out of your hometown?

Some of the reasons why you should consider relocating include:

  • Meeting new people and experiencing new cultures.
  • Moving out of your hometown can also give you a chance to start a new life, set down new roots, and build a better future.
  • It helps your develop independence and resilience.
  • It can open you up to better opportunities and better financial conditions.
  • It can give you the time and space to reflect and find out who you are apart from who you have been for years.

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