The Fear of Leaving the House – Why Is Change Difficult?

Written by: Shreya Manerkar – MA (Clinical Psychology)
Last updated date : February 22, 2023

Let us take the example of Sam. He is a 20-year-old college graduate who recently received a job offer in a new country. However, he has a fear of leaving the house. He lives with his family and is confused about this change. In fact, he is afraid to leave the house and isn’t sure about taking up the job.

Does this situation sound familiar to you? If yes,  maybe you are also scared of taking this decision of leaving your comfort zone. Let us understand the reason why it is so difficult to make this change.

“Very practical suggestions”

95 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use


25% discount


Chapter 1:

Why Do People Have a Fear of Leaving the House?

Change is an unavoidable part of life. Sometimes we plan the change, while other times it is not in our control. Whether it is an everyday plan or a big event, everyone has to deal with change. So, why do people have a fear of change, especially the fear of leaving the house?

There could be various reasons why someone is afraid to leave the house. Let us discuss these in detail. Along with the causes, we will teach you some simple exercises to overcome this fear. However, we have one suggestion for you, write down your fears and address them as you read along.

Fear of Loss

One of the biggest reasons people fear leaving the house is the fear of loss. For example, Sam may wonder what he has to give up if he leaves the country. He worries he will lose his friends and not connect with them like he used to. Therefore, just like Sam, you may also be afraid of leaving the house because you have to give something up.

Now, write down what your fear of loss is. Do you worry about giving up something close to you? While analyzing this aspect of fear, write why you should or should not be leaving the house. If the opportunities outweigh the costs, there is nothing to worry about. Remember, change is an inevitable part of life that helps us grow. Sometimes we have to lose something to gain something.

Fear of Not Knowing

Sometimes, people are uncomfortable with small changes such as shifting from one desk space to another. Now imagine how frightening it would be to move from one country to another. This is the greatest fear people have when it comes to leaving the house. It is the fear of not knowing how things will turn out.

This fear arises from leaving the comfort zone of the house and shifting to an unknown place. Here are some examples of fearing the unknown:

  • No information about the place
  • How the people will be? Especially your team and boss
  • Type of food
  • Your neighbors
  • Will you make friends?
  • How you will commute?
  • Safety and security

Do any of these make sense to you? Is this something you are worried about? If yes, let us address the issue. Take a sheet of paper, write each of your worries, and next to it, write if they are in your control or not. If it is in your control, write all the possible ways to deal with the situation. However, if it is not in your control, let it go. Remember, no amount of fear will change the situation.

Fear of Losing Control

Commonly observed among people who have fear of leaving the house is the fear of losing control. Moreover, this goes hand in hand with the fear of not knowing. So, not only are you afraid of the unknown but also losing control of the unknown. Imagine how scary this scenario will be for anyone embracing such a big life change. However, do not mix this with fear of loss. Fear of losing control arises from feeling helpless in an unknown situation. Let’s go back to Sam’s example and understand where he would feel like he has lost control.

Sam may feel like he won’t have a choice of food that he usually enjoys. Moreover, if he moves to a non-English speaking country, he may feel helpless while communicating with locals. From regular commute to adjusting to the new life, one may be afraid for many reasons. However, these “What Ifs” are common among people who are afraid to leave the house.

So, if you are worried about leaving your home there is a simple way to deal with the situation. The more information you have, the more confident you will feel. A good way to be prepared for each of these situations is by doing basic research. Google information and talk to people staying in the country. It could be your boss or a friend. You can also look at forums to read about people’s perspectives on the situation.

Chapter 2:

Is It Okay to Be Afraid to Leave the House?

In stressful situations, people’s flight or fight response is activated. Being afraid and having fear are classic examples of flight response. When the mind feels threatened, it wants to run away. And so, while overcoming your fear of leaving the house ask yourself if there is a real danger to your safety or not. If there is a tiger running after you, the natural reaction is to run away. This is an example of real fear. On the other hand, fear of leaving the house is an imagined fear. This means that you are only thinking of the possible bad outcomes which may never happen.

So, to answer your question it is okay to be afraid to leave the house only when there is a real danger. Fear of leaving the house to shift to a war-prone country is an example of real danger. Alternately, real danger can also arise from a country having very high crime rates. Other than that, all other fears are worries that are magnified in our minds.

Chapter 3:

The Way Forward

All of us make decisions every single day. Some of these are important while others are not so important. From deciding what to wear to taking business decisions, all of us are capable of choosing between two or more options. Some of our choices may work, while others may fail. However, this does not stop us from living our life. If you apply the same philosophy to leaving the house, the decision will become simpler. If you always assume that you will fail, you will never confidently make any decisions. Additionally, whatever decision you take, you will never be happy. Hence, it is important to be comfortable and confident in the choices you make. Moreover, you need to stop making decisions that are driven by fear. If you want to work on improving yourself and become more confident, enroll in our course “Low self-esteem“. This course will help you work on your fears and take decisions effortlessly.

"Very practical suggestions" Peter

95 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount