Travel is something that many people dream of, and that almost everybody loves. What could be more exciting than an adventure? And yet, travel can be a time of great anxiety for some. The paper work, waiting periods in terminals, flying, being in a foreign place, the thought of getting lost, and not being able to communicate because of language barriers can all cause great distress. But this won’t do. Finding out how to deal with the anxiety that comes from travelling is important to enjoying your journey.
Preparation = Confidence
Preparing for your journey can help you to eliminate so much of what you may be anxious about. If you are anxious about not knowing anybody in the place you are travelling too, you can sign up for group tours that also double–up as a great way of meeting others in a safe environment. If the language barrier bothers you, take some time before your journey to learn some basic, useful phrases.
Although there is a “preparation solution” for just about every anxiety you can think of, the key is to remember that you cannot actually control everything, and that things have their own way of working out no matter how prepared you are. Do not get caught up trying to micro–manage every small aspect of your trip as that can cause a whole other set of anxieties.
If you main problem is the actual journey (long distance bus drives, or flying) then the best thing you can do is to have a variety of coping methods to help you deal. Examples of this can be packing in a fun, light hearted book if you like reading; or filling your mp3 player up with songs that lift your spirits!
Practise some calming breathing exercises before your journey that you know will help you relax if you become anxious. You can also do this with other meditative techniques like visualization.
You know yourself best. If you really feel that you can’t cope, speak to your health care advisor about some sedatives that he/ she can prescribe for your journey.
Anxiety and excitement can be viewed as two sides of the same coin – anticipation. We all know the feeling of anticipation: wondering what our journey will be like, and dreaming up scenarios in our heads! The only difference is that some people become excited and dream of what adventures await, and then some of us become anxious at the anticipation, and conjure up the worst case scenarios.
Either way you can see that our mind-sets alone can make a world of difference. Every time you feel rising anxiety at the thought of your trip, take hold of that feeling and change it around. Start telling yourself that you will have a good trip, be confident, and have fun.
Take this one step forward and actually do start looking forward to some things! Perhaps there is a famous art museum where you are travelling, or an authentic cuisine you’ve always wanted to try. You may be taken aback by some of the natural beauty or be interested in the culture and language. You are bound to find something that you are genuinely interested in. Focusing your thoughts on that is an integral part of how to deal with travel anxiety.
Lastly, you’ll may be surprised to find out that no matter where you go in this world, you’ll always find kind, generous people who are willing to help you. Reach out and ask for help if you need it. Locals can be especially welcoming to you, and will want you to have a positive and long lasting impression of your journey.