HOW TO OVERCOME ANXIETY WHILE TRAVELLING
Holiday destinations really bring to mind peaceful and exciting thoughts we will do there. However, the opposite happens for some people who think about travelling. Whether you heard about a missing/crashed plane on the news, a friend inadvertently mentioned bad aspects of their experience; of a destination to which you are headed to, or hate to experience claustrophobia or agoraphobia, anxiety can become very difficult to overcome.
Instead of thinking about wonderful things to do when you land, your mind is haunted by negative assumptions and aspects of travelling, which also takes its toll on your body manifesting as excess sweating, increased heartbeat rate, clutching the armrest till your knuckles turn white, being fidgety, having stomach pains and/or feeling dizzy.
We have all heard the typical advice: Take long deep breaths and we respond with: Yeah, like that’s going to work! Truth is, it does if you make a conscious effort to abate the control of anxiety over your mind. Below are some of the suggestions to help you take necessary actions to diminish travel anxiety, if not eliminate it:
Don’t compare yourself with other travel bloggers
You aspire to travel around the world and let the world know of your experiences through stories in your travel blog. While dealing with travel anxiety is a difficult challenge, you do the worse by comparing yourself with other travellers and their blog stories. The only thing it serves is to lower your self-esteem and make you realize how little you have accomplished because of this ‘weakness’. Like everything in life, comparison allows us to evaluate ourselves and be ungrateful of our rewards and efforts and instantly put others above you in status. As Theodore Roosevelt rightly quoted:
“Comparison is the thief of joy”.
Moreover, you don’t know that those amazing travellers also had to go through their own fears and uncertainties.
Uncertainty aggravates anxiety
One of the major reasons why you can be anxious about travelling is the aspect of things not in your control. Did I look the door on my way out of home? Will my house be more vulnerable to burglars? Is the pilot competent enough to control the plane and land it smoothly? Did I make a mistake of booking a flight during storm season? All of these thoughts will drain you of mental energy.
The only way to minimize uncertainty is to plan before boarding a plane. This also means focusing on all the things you DO have control over.
Identify your fears
Not everyone is fully aware of why their nerves are gripped by anxiety. Is it because of being enclosed in a giant metal tube? Is it because you are stuck in one place with several strangers? Are you afraid something bad will happen to your flight? Or maybe this travel heralds something more horrible to be experienced in store for you?
Think about the causes of anxiety and jot them down. Then, come up with logical conclusions to refute your negative assumptions. In terms of being agoraphobic or claustrophobic, before travelling, learn to confront one scary thing in a day. Then, gradually gain the courage to tackle more stuff which is bothering you. Reason for doing this is because avoiding your fears leads to what psychologists refer to as ‘negative reinforcements’. When you avoid something, you influence your behavior to act in the same way next time. While you may not see changes by leaps and bounds (which obviously everyone wants to see), keep a track of your efforts in a personal journal so that when you are in doubt, you can refer to it and gain confidence for encountering future endeavors.
CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR WORRIES
Afraid you’re stuck in a plane with so many strangers flying over 30,000 feet at over 500 mph? Be relieved by the thought that you are not in control of the plane while dealing with anxiety. You can relax and do whatever you want without worrying about staying alert every minute listening to instructions from Control Tower.
Heard bad stories from a friend about a place to which you are heading to? He/she was unfortunate. But guess what? You can take this as a lesson to avoid the mistakes they made. There are also elements where you can avoid them altogether and find a way/alternative to deal with a circumstance. Maybe your friend got poor bargain for prices of things he/she bought. You can go around this by surveying other places and then bargaining to get your money’s worth. Are you homesick? Bring a pillow, blanket or anything to remind you of home. Bring interesting books and songs to divert your mind and ease the tension, maybe even forget about it altogether!
In summary, realize that nobody has more influence over changing your thought patterns than you. You have the power to take control of the anxiety and overcoming your fears. The more you face your fears head on, the closer you’ll be to freely and courageously create cherished memories.