From a hundred to five thousand – feel comfortable in a crowd!
Why does being in a crowd make some people uncomfortable? Why will they go to any lengths to avoid situations where the numbers of people might exceed a (very low) threshold? Of course, it’s sensible for all of us to avoid some types of crowd. Rioters are not comfortable company, nor are the fans of the defeated football team after the match. But why worry that the supermarket is crowded? Why dread going to concerts?
Bad experiences teach some people to fear crowds
For some people, the explanation lies in having had some kind of distressing experience in a large group of people. Being caught up in a group who were panicking, say, or getting lost in a crowd, might directly influence you to feel afraid of crowds. And because of the way the brain processes negative experiences, you might feel afraid of all crowds, not just the type of crowd where you had your unpleasant experience.
Crowd fears can be unrelated to bad experiences
But some people dread any type of crowd even though they have never personally had a bad experience of being in a crowd. When the number of people gets beyond a certain level, they start to feel panicky and want to get away as fast as possible, even though there is no threat from anyone or anything. What is the explanation for this?
How humans function in crowds
Cognitive neuroscientist Dr Mark Williams of Macquarie University in Australia carried out a study into our ability to recognise facial expressions. (1) He established that our capacity to identify expressions, particularly negative ones like anger or fear, is noticeably impaired in crowd situations, where there are many faces to scan. This means that our ability to identify, and so deal with, threat is also limited.
Why smaller groups seem so much more comfortable
This fascinating research provides evidence for what evolutionary scientists have been telling us. We evolved to live in groups, we are social creatures. But the group structures we evolved to live in were relatively small in size. Humans would have been personally familiar with nearly every member of their local group. Our social skills are finely adapted for small groups.
The modern urban world, where millions of total strangers live cheek by jowl, is, in evolutionary terms, an extremely recent event. From the biological perspective, it will be a very long time before our evolution catches up with the social changes that have occurred.
Does this mean that those who find themselves inexplicably anxious about crowds are doomed to suffer and may as well resign themselves to a life of seclusion? Does this mean that those who have had a bad experience can never get over it?
Not at all!
You have the capacity to learn to enjoy crowds
Evolution, while seeming to have left us floundering in the face of unexpected changes in our environment, like living with very large numbers of people, has also provided us with the most amazing capacity for dealing with the unexpected in creative ways. Human beings, more than any other creature, are able to learn new behaviours that are, at first sight, quite outside their instinctive programming.
You are reading this at a computer screen, are you not? You may ride a bike, or drive a car, or use a telephone, or watch TV, or any one of a thousand other behaviours that would not occur ‘naturally’. Yet, in spite of that, we have taught ourselves to do them, and enjoy them. We have learned how to ‘reprogram’ instinctive behaviours to suit our needs and wants.
How to reprogram your brain to feel at ease in crowds
The easiest and most effective way to instigate a bit of instinctive reprogramming is through hypnosis. Hypnosis is a way of activating those parts of the brain which set up the programming which we think of as instinctive. And this part of the brain is amazingly adaptable and receptive (thank you, evolution!).
Fear of crowds is an audio hypnosis session designed to help you feel more comfortable in crowd situations. This carefully crafted deep trance session will take you into a state of profound relaxation. This in itself will calm down all worries and anxieties. You will then discover how you can easily and comfortably ‘reconfigure’ the way your mind and brain process the experience of being in a crowd.
Fear of crowds will teach you how to create a new blueprint for ‘comfortable crowd behaviour’ which you will be able to start enjoying straight away, looking forward to all the new opportunities it will bring.
Download Fear of crowds and begin to enjoy being with people in a whole new way.
(1) European Journal of Neuroscience, Conference Edition, June 2008
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Fear of Crowds
Narrator: Roger Elliott
Download Size: 9.93 MB
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