All things considered, elevators are rather safe devices to use.
There are brakes installed to prevent falls, and even if the elevator does end up falling, there is a shock absorption system located at the bottom of the shaft.
The keyword here is “if”
Elevators go through regular checkups to ensure that they are always operating in optimal condition, minimizing risks to a point where they are almost nonexistent.
When put together, these factors ensure as much safety as possible at a times.
in 2011, U.S elevators made 18 billion passenger trips which resulted in 27 deaths.
This number works out to a 0.00000015% fatality rate, making it so close to zero that it might as well be zero.
In fact, you are much more likely to die from walking down the stairs than you are from using the elevator.
With all of this being said, an interesting question comes to mind: Why are so many people so afraid of elevators?
Elevators can trigger phobias
There are no specific statistics to indicate exactly how many people are afraid of elevators, but that number is a substantial one.
Let me put it to you this way.
Elevators can serve as a trigger for a few common phobias:
- Claustrophobia is the fear of closed spaces. Seeing as elevators are, in essence, a small, closed metal box, making them a major cause for a claustrophobic reaction
- Agoraphobia is the fear of being trapped in a place or a situation that may cause a panic attack. Some agoraphobics view elevators as inescapable, more so when there are others in the elevator with them, making the experience a possible trigger
- Acrophobia is the fear of height. Elevators can go up very quickly, making them quite difficult to get used to for acrophobics, more so in the case of see-through elevators
All of these phobias are very common, and all of them can be triggered by elevators.
But that doesn’t have to be the case: Elevators can be a source of intimidation without having any other kind of fear being involved.
Elevators can cause fear by themselves
Not in all cases do elevators serve as triggers.
Generally speaking, we develop fears based on previous experiences.
Because of that, the fear of elevators can be attributed to trauma.
It doesn’t have to be something bad that happened to you, or even a memory of a scary moment within an elevator.
The truth is that this fear can be triggered by even the faintest, subconscious thought.
Like, say, a scary scene from a movie that you watched a long time ago.
These negative thoughts and experiences can stick with us for many years to come, affecting the way that we think and feel.
The fact that the concept of elevators, a tiny metal box that is being held by wires, can be intimidating in and of itself only contributes to this fear.
How can you overcome the fear of elevators?
As I have said before, the fear of elevators is an irrational one.
Not only are elevators extremely safe, more so than stairs, but with them being such a common item these days this fear is quite problematic.
After learning to understand it, there are certain things that can be done in order to overcome this fear.
As it stands, these things can be broken down into a 4 step plan of action:
1) Define your fear
Contrary to certain myths, fear is not a universal thing.
Certain people are scared of certain things to varying effects.
In the case of this particular fear, different types of elevators may produce different reactions.
Small elevators, spacious elevators, see-through elevators – they are all different.
To overcome your fear simply recognize the extent of this fear, and in what ways it affects you.
Instead of theorizing about these effects look for the specific elevators in your life that you find intimidating.
Once you do, you can move to the next step.
2) Adress your fear logically
Fear and phobias are, by nature, highly illogical.
You can reason your way through a fear and give many logical arguments as to why it is silly to be scared of something.
None of that is actually going to work, at least not without further help.
That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be conscious of what you are dealing with.
When we are confronted with a phobia, we are very likely to think the worst of any given situation and to exaggerate our circumstances.
This makes perfect sense if you think about it.
When we reach an emotional high, being logical and judging things objectively becomes very difficult.
For example, you can find this type of reaction in angry people, maybe even in yourself at times.
Because of that, it is important to attempt and hold these instinctive and emotional reactions back as much as possible.
You can do that by acknowledging certain facts.
Elevators are safe, more so than stairs, cars or even walking down the stress.
They are used daily by people all around the world without causing any harm to anyone.
They are being monitored regularly by technicians and other experts.
There is no reason to fear them.
Repeating these mantras can be quite empowering.
At the very least, they can keep your focus away from your fears and prevent you from getting to an emotional high and forgetting yourself.
3) Test your fear
After defining your fear and preparing yourself mentally to confront it, the next step should be to learn just how deep that fear runs.
In other words, you need to discover how much of this fear you can tolerate, and the only way to discover that would be to try and see for yourself.
You can start by simply visiting your chosen elevator and traveling just one floor upwards.
If you can handle that then go higher or lower, repeatedly and as much as possible.
To make the experience easier, or maybe just to reassure yourself, you might want to bring a family member or a friend with you.
After all, as I have said before, when confronted with fear we tend to react emotionally.
If you can’t force yourself to calm down through rationalization and self-encouragement then having some else there to support you might be exactly what you need.
If that doesn’t bother you, try riding an elevator with other people.
In cases such as agoraphobia or social anxiety this step might be quite difficult, but it is ultimately a necessary one.
The idea here is to truly understand what you can and can’t do (for now) and to better familiarize you with your fear.
Once you successfully accomplish that, the next step would be for you to start pushing back against your fear.
4) Start pushing your limits
Okay, so let’s assume for a moment that you did all of the previously mentioned steps.
You recognized your fear, you mentally prepared yourself to confront it and then you finally did.
Whether the encounter ended up being good or bad matters little.
In fact, it was just the beginning of what ultimately is going to be a larger scale operation.
Now that you know your limits and understand your fear just a little bit better, you need to start pushing yourself.
A few more floors at a time, a more crowded elevator, an even higher see through.
Exposure therapy is proven to be the best method to confront fear with.
Fears and phobias are irrational by nature, so the only real way to overcome them is to prove to yourself that they are not as bad as they seem.
There is no other practical alternative to this method.
That being said, there are certain exceptions that are worth noting.
In some extreme cases, this form of self-help might be counterproductive.
For example, when the fear is very traumatic and is too great to confront, visiting a mental health professional should be your next course of action.
Fear needs to be dealt with
The fear of elevators doesn’t just get in the way, it is downright crippling.
Elevators are a regular, everyday part of our lives and avoiding them will make your life quite difficult.
The worst part about it is there are no particular drawbacks to using the elevator.
Not only is it safer than using the stairs, it is also arguably faster and far more efficient.
This fear is controlling your life, and you need to get control over it back.
Exposure therapy might be the most viable and useful self-help method, but there are some things that you can do to make it more effective.
For a comprehensive guide on how to overcome your anxiety, of elevators or otherwise, I would recommend checking out the Panic Away Program.
In it, you will find great videos and guides on how to manage your fears, reduce stress and get your life back on track.
Before you do that, Heres a quick question – What part of using the elevator are you afraid of?
Start your journey to overcome your fear right now by answering this question.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!
If you got any further questions then make sure to send me an email and I will do my best to get back to you.