Your home is your safe space. It's where you feel most comfortable and relaxed. But what happens when you have to leave that comfort zone and travel? Leaving home can trigger anxiety and make many people feel out of control. But today, we'll tell you more about how to overcome travel anxiety, including with the help of vagus nerve stimulation.
Understanding Travel Anxiety
Those who suffer from travel anxiety are far from alone. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 40 million American adults suffer from some form of anxiety disorder. And while there are many different types of anxiety disorders, one common thread is a fear of the unknown and being out of your comfort zone.
Travel anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways. Some people may show up with physical symptoms like a racing heart, sweating, or difficulty breathing. Others may experience mental symptoms such as feeling overwhelmed or out of control, trouble concentrating, or irritability.
Here are some other common symptoms of travel anxiety:
- Feeling nervous or anxious about upcoming travel
- Worrying about how you'll cope away from home
- Avoiding travel altogether because of your anxiety
- Experiencing physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating when thinking about or during travel
If you can relate to any of the above, don't worry – there are ways to overcome travel anxiety and make traveling a more enjoyable experience. Let's take a look at some helpful tips.
How to Overcome Travel Anxiety When Traveling In A Car
We'll begin by discussing anxiety when traveling in a car and how to manage it.
Ignore your feelings
First, it's essential to understand that your feelings of anxiety are not based on reality. In this case, ignoring your anxious feelings about travel can be helpful. Just because you feel anxious doesn't mean there's anything to be afraid of. So, one of the best things you can do is simply ignore your feelings and focus on something else.
Change your thinking
In addition to ignoring your anxiety, it may also be helpful to change the way you're thinking about travel. For example, if you're anxious about flying, remember that flying is one of the safest travel methods. And if you're worried about driving, try to focus on being in control of the car and can stop anytime you want.
Form a routine
It's also helpful to form a routine when traveling in a car. This can involve packing your bag the night before, setting out your clothes for the next day, and ensuring you have everything you need before leaving the house. When you have a routine in place, it can help to ease your anxiety and make the process of traveling less stressful.
Another helpful tip is to start driving as soon as possible. If you're anxious about driving, the longer you wait to get behind the wheel, the worse your anxiety will become. So, it's best just to get started and finish it.
Plan your stops
Be sure to plan your stops ahead of time, so you're not rushed or feeling frazzled. If possible, try to find a place to stop that's quiet and calming, like a park or nature trail.
What fun is a car trip without music? Listening to music can help you relax and take your mind off of your anxiety. If you have an iPhone or iPod, you can create a playlist specifically for your car trip. Or, if you're traveling with others, take turns picking songs to play.
You may also want to bring along some headphones so you can listen to music without bothering the other passengers.
Anxiousness When Flying
Now let's discuss how to manage anxiety when traveling in an airplane.
Counting your breaths can be an effective way to relax and take your mind off of your anxiety. Inhale for a count of four, hold for a count of two, and exhale for a count of four. Repeat this until you feel your anxiety start to dissipate.
Use distraction techniques
You can use several different distraction techniques to help cope with anxiety while flying. For example, you can bring a book or magazine to read, listen to music or audiobooks, or play a game on your phone. Not all distractions are bad (far from it), so find something that works for you and helps you relax.
Consider medication or therapy
If your anxiety is severe and debilitating, you may want to consider medication or therapy. This is something you should discuss with your doctor beforehand. They can help you determine if medication or therapy is proper for you and, if so, what type would be most effective.
Talk to the person next to you
Sometimes, the best way to overcome anxiety is to face it head-on. For example, if you're anxious about flying, try talking to the person next to you. They may be able to relate to how you're feeling and provide some helpful tips.
Get up and move around
If you're feeling anxious, it may help to get up and move around the cabin. Walk up and down the aisle a few times or do some simple stretches in your seat. Just be sure to stay seated during takeoff, landing, and turbulence!
Employing different stress management techniques leading up to and during your flight is a good idea. This could include meditation, journaling, or other practices that help you keep your stress under control.
(Read about meditation before sleep next)
Another helpful tip is to identify your triggers and avoid them if possible. For example, if you find that looking out the window during takeoff makes you anxious, try to avoid doing so by shutting the window covering. Alternatively, if listening to the safety briefing makes you nervous, try putting on headphones or focusing on a book during this time.
Plan for scenarios
As we mentioned, much of the anxiety surrounding travel comes from uncertainty. But if you know what you'll do if different situations arise, you'll feel more prepared and in control. For example, if there's a delay in your flight, have a backup plan for how you'll spend that time.
Choose your seat wisely
When booking your flight, take some time to choose your seat wisely. If you're anxious when flying, it may be helpful to choose a window seat. This will allow you to have something to focus on during the flight and can help prevent
How to Overcome Travel Anxiety
We're not done yet! So, here are even more tips for how to overcome travel anxiety.
One of the best things you can do is try to think positively about your trip. Remember that millions of people fly daily and that most flights are uneventful.
Time to reflect
Taking the time to reflect on your anxiety can be helpful. Once you're home from your trip, sit down and think about what made you anxious and how you coped with it. This will help you prepare for future trips.
Talk to someone
If you find that your anxiety impacts your daily life, it's essential to talk to someone about it. A therapist can help you understand and manage your stress.
Other Top Picks to Reduce Travel Fear
Finally, here are some of our favorite ways to get your travel anxiety under control.
Visualize happiness about getting to your destination
This is a great way to combat any nervousness about flying. Think about how happy you'll be when you land and can start your vacation. Perhaps you can imagine how your toes will feel when they first hit that warm sand or how delicious that first Mai Tai will taste. Then, let those happy thoughts carry you through your flight.
Prepare for takeoff and landing
Once you're prepared for takeoff and landing, you'll be less stressed. You can close your eyes and envision the plane lifting into the air. Try to stay calm and focused on your breathing.
Vagus nerve stimulation
Finally, vagus nerve stimulation can also be helpful if you're searching for how to overcome travel anxiety and become more resilient to stress and anxiety in general. Xen by Neuvana headphones use this technology to help people manage their anxiety. The headphones deliver gentle electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve through the ear, which is known to help reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, stimulating the vagus nerve helps tone it, which can help the body better cope with stress.
Learn more about the science of vagus nerve stimulation here.
Final Thoughts: How to Overcome Travel Anxiety
Travel anxiety doesn't have to ruin your trip. You can overcome your fear and enjoy the experience with some planning and preparation. Just remember to focus on your breathing, form a routine, bring a friend, and find some distractions to help you relax. And before you know it, you'll be safe at your destination without a care in the world.