Travel does not have to be stressful.
Read on for 6 easy ways to avoid disaster.
Read on for 6 easy ways to avoid disaster.
Here we are in the summer months once again, the sun high in the sky, the temperatures rising and as we feel the heat of the season warm our bodies we can’t help but wish for some coolness and relief. The kids are out of school and they beg for poolside days and splashing water sports that could help quench the thirst for action and bring some cool waves. Even a trip to the water park would be nice or that long awaited vacation by the seaside. No matter where you head to however, chances are you will be met with some travel time, by car, train or airplane and a large crowd of people that are looking for a similar escape. Your body cringes as it sits in the car or plane for hours at a time before you can finally reach your blessed destination. The airport is packed with people running to catch their flights, unhappy crying babies, parents who are trying to keep it together through this necessary step before reaching some calm “waters”. Everyone is sensitive to travel stressors and you are no different. Recognizing those stressors is important in order to not let them overtake you. They can show up as a headache, physical fatigue and exhaustion, a knot in your stomach, anxiety or even manifest as allergies, as your body reacts to any uncomfortable setting. Inflammation can set in eventually completely messing up your vacation plans as you could potentially arrive completely exhausted and might need several days to recoup from your travels. And before you know it, it is time for your return trip. You return home even more tired than when you left and need a week to recoup from your travels. Well, that was fun!Have faith. There are ways of adapting to travel that will ensure you have a great experience coming and going and will still be able to enjoy your time in-between. As scientists are discovering more and more of how our body (and mind) works the study of epigenetics now informs us that how the body reacts to stress can be more important than the actual stressor that is present. For example, while at the airport let’s say, waiting at your gate for your plane to board, you find yourself in the midst of a couple arguing. They argument is slowly accelerating, their voices become really loud accompanied by sharp gestures and you, sitting right next to them in a crowed gate, have no choice but to become part of that experience. Or do you? This would actually be the perfect time to take note of your choices. You can sit there and become burdened with anxiety as the argument goes on and become completely paralyzed by it. Or, you can choose to put your noise cancelling headsets on and listen to your music or bask in the quiet space. You can get up and go stand somewhere else and focus on a memory that brings you joy. The possibilities are endless.
How you react however, will set the pace for your wellbeing in the immediate future. You mind and body will react according to the experience you feed it and will either raise your cortisol levels (stress hormone) or start producing oxytocin (a feel good hormone) in order to deal with the situation. Either way, it is your choice.
On that note, here are some ways of working around travel stressors:
1. Breathe - We often forget to breathe in stressful situations or we take shallow breaths. Take a moment to notice your breathing. Take nice full breaths and feel your chest receiving each nourishing inhale and releasing stress with each exhale. Try the 4/7/8 breath.
2. Find your center - Close your eyes, go within and think of a moment of gratitude or a happy memory. Thinking of what you are grateful for works wonders in changing your mood. Meditate if that is part of your repertoire; and if not now would be a great time to start.
3. Ask “Is this mine?”- If the stressor is external do not take it on. There is no reason to make it your own and become anxious. Turn your attention to your book, your music, and stay in your calm space.
4. Move - If you are still having trouble dealing with the external stimuli, move around. Stand up and move your body. Go take a walk, stretch your limbs, reach up high with your arms and stretch your spine. Keep yourself active until the stressor has passed or you are far away from it.
5. Reach out - Call a dear friend who makes you laugh, connect with your family, write on you blog. Reach for those things that bring you joy and can also be an outlet for you emotions.
And by all means,
6. Change your focus - You do not want to keep your attention on what is causing you stress. Instead divert your focus to something lighter. Change the conversation if need be or move away from that immediate area.
Sometimes we are so used to re-acting a certain way that it is difficult to change. But if you simply notice what is happening in those situations and slowly catch yourself, time after time, replacing the habit of getting upset with the habit of finding peace among adversity, you will be on the path to calmer waters.
You always have choices. Whether you choose to go within or remove yourself from the event. Excuse yourself to go to the restroom or because of blame a headache and find a quieter space to center yourself. Allow yourself the luxury of arriving at your destination energized and ready to continue your day, attend that important meeting or begin your vacation. Let’s get back to enjoying every moment of our lives.
To your health!Corinna♥