In the past few decades, there has been an exponential increase in the number of people who are diagnosed with anxiety, as well as those who have started to experience its symptoms. Stress is one of such issues that can take over someone’s life unless appropriately managed. One of the ways in which this anxiety can manifest itself is in the form of travel anxiety, especially travel anxiety that occurs during the actual trip, as opposed to before it.
Researchers at Click Pharmacy believe that anxiety management techniques, especially those that are tailor-made for travel anxiety, should be researched and prepared for, and maybe even practised beforehand. This makes travel a lot easier. Here are some of the travel anxiety management techniques they recommend:
1. Be prepared
Travel anxiety can make an entire trip go downhill, which is why it is imperative to do one main thing before travelling: analyse and assess symptoms so the person experiencing anxiety can understand what sort of management techniques will work for them. This can be done by looking out for specific triggers, such as certain smells, tastes, noises, weathers, or even lighting conditions. Knowing this can help them plan their trip in a way that best avoids these triggers, and also helps them plan out the management techniques that they will need to be mindful of while travelling.
Some of these management techniques include learning basic meditation, breathing exercises that work to calm them down, and other relaxation and self-help techniques.
Distractions are one of the best ways that can help someone deal with and manage travel anxiety. These distractions can vary from the people around them to books and movies. Distractions help by flooding the mind with other images and thoughts which can flush out images and feelings that are triggering. A good distraction is using verbal affirmations such as ‘It is just a thought’, or ‘The thought will pass’. These can help reiterate the fact that the anxiety is just temporary, and that there is no need to worry about it not passing.
The good idea is to bring a good book or a device with movies downloaded on it so that it can make the trip a little less boring during travel, and also ensure that the traveller’s attention is fixated on the book/movie.
3. Plans and itineraries
An excellent way to keep the focus away from the anxiety is to focus on the plans that are decided for the trip. This, in particular, is best accomplished with a solid itinerary of bookings and activities over the course of the journey. With a schedule in mind that can be followed, it is easier to let go of anxious thoughts and focus on the trip.
In the itinerary, try to include everything from tourist attractions to the different restaurants that can be tried. Any appointments can be added, and even things such as relaxing massages and shopping trips can be scheduled. All of this helps to ensure that the journey is enjoyed thoroughly and that whoever has anxiety also has something to look forward to each day.
4. Don’t fight it off
Distraction and meditation are great ways to help out with anxiety, but sometimes they don’t work. This is because of people with anxiety, especially those that experience severe symptoms, cannot control their anxiety at times. This anxiety can manifest itself in the form of panic attacks and hyperventilation.
As odd as it may seem, it is okay to let the anxiety turn into a panic attack; at least in these cases. This helps the body take out real anxiety and regain control. It is always best to find a safe environment where there are no sharp objects or other dangerous things. It is good to remember that it is only a panic attack and will pass very soon. This helps bring the body back in its control and also frees the mind to focus on other thoughts apart from the anxiety.
If possible, try to have someone nearby that is trusted and is aware of the condition and how to handle it. Travelling with a friend or a family member who is aware of how anxiety works and how to deal with it can make travel a lot safer for the person who suffers from anxiety.
5. Consult a doctor
Before leaving the country, especially a country where one does not know the language and chances of having anxiety increase manifold, it is best to consult a psychologist or psychiatrist. Depending on the kind of anxiety, the doctor can either recommend medication or help with planning the trip in a way that won’t make the anxiety worse. This can also help the doctor determine what sort of triggers might be responsible for the stress and whether or not any other stimuli are responsible for the anxiety symptoms. It is possible that doctors may prescribe medication for panic attacks. In such a case, the medication should always be taken with the traveller on the trip.
It may seem odd, but anxiety is just like any other illness and can be managed very well if the person suffering from it plans accordingly. Travelling with stress, especially to a foreign country where the flight will be long and the area will be new, can be incredibly daunting; even for people who travel abroad regularly. Experts believe that these conditions that can make travelling more difficult, which is why they believe that anxiety management techniques such as those mentioned above should be practised and planned for by the traveller well beforehand.