Whether you’re visiting a new city, a new country, or even a familiar place, travel can be extremely stressful. You may feel nervous about what’s going to happen, how you’ll feel about it, and how you’ll react. Below are several tips to help you prevent, manage, and work your way through travel-related anxiety:
1. Calm your nervous system with a relaxation technique. It’s hard to think reasonably when your body is anxious. Listen to a meditation CD, or practice slow breathing to lower your baseline anxiety level.
2. Write down your worries. The mere act of writing creates some detachment from your concerns that will help you achieve some objectivity.
3. Mind the mind with cognitive therapy. Take your list of worried thoughts, and for each item, ask yourself this question: “How likely is it that the outcome I fear will really happen?” This evaluation is intended to help you acknowledge that there may be very little evidence that your worries will come to fruition.
4. Acknowledge inner resources. You’ve encountered and lived through many new situations, e.g., starting a new job, moving to a different home, and going on (and even enjoying) previous vacations. Say to yourself: “I survived that challenge, and I know I can survive this one.”
5. Remember that there are stores where you are going. It’s not a disaster if you forget to pack everything.
6. If flying is a fear, bring this topic into your personal therapy. There are therapeutic interventions that can help! Also, be sure to take a good book or a tablet so that you can read, watch a film, listen to music, or play a game. It’s good to have something to keep your mind busy while you’re in the air.
7. Embrace uncertainty. Let’s face it: life is uncertain and travel is even more so. Say a self-statement: “I accept uncertainty. I may not like it, but I can handle it.”
By Dr. Carolyn Daitch, Director: Center for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders
Fellow and Certified and Approved Consultant, ASCH
Fellow, Michigan Psychological Association
Certified Imago Relationship Therapist
28592 Orchard Lake Rd.
Farmington Hills, Michigan
Phone: (248) 626-8151