According to the research study “Anxiety and Health Problems Related to Air Travel”, anxiety around travel is incredibly common. It states that the ability to enjoy travelling, or to at least be able to take it in your stride without excessive worry or fear, comes down to a natural disposition to be able to cope with psychological and physical stresses. From busy airports at 4 am and dealing with turbulence to finding your way around a foreign country and trying new cuisine, all these experiences can add up to an anxiety related attack of some kind. Even if you are only travelling within your own country, the simple act of being away from home and separated from your ‘safe’, more controllable environment can result in additional stress and feelings of anxiety in even the coolest, calm and collected of people.
As such, it is essential to recognise that anxiety during a journey can occur in anyone, from confident, regular travellers to inexperienced novices. It can come down to something as simple as how you feel on the day or even how well you slept the night before and fuelled your body that morning. Moreover, if you already suffer from some form of anxiety, then, of course, these new situations will only compound the issue to the point that potentially, even just thinking about taking a trip can cause your worries to skyrocket.
The Effects of Travel Related Anxiety
Doctors and health experts, such as those at Click Pharmacy, explain that the health problems which can arise from travel-induced anxiety are not dissimilar to the symptoms you may experience when dealing with more generalised anxiety. They can range from physical issues such as nausea, diarrhoea, sweating and a raised heartbeat, to emotional reactions such as feelings of fear and helplessness. Anxiety can even affect cognitive abilities such as limiting concentration levels or causing you to become stuck in negative thought patterns, including assuming the worst outcome in any given situation, which is tough to overcome when flying for example.
Though you may be experienced in having to lower your anxiety using a variety of methods, with such a wealth of potential and unfamiliar situations to contend with whilst travelling, your usual calming practices may not be enough when faced with the unknown.
So no matter how far you are planning on travelling, what mode of transport you are using, or whether anxiety already plays a part in your life or not, planning is vital to help you overcome travel anxiety before setting off on holiday.
The more informed you are, the less likely you are to be anxious. Book your seats well in advance, know your route from door to door, pre-book transfers and check out the local area including your accommodation, restaurants and the nearest doctor.
Create A Favourite Playlist
This might include some calming classical music, your favourite podcast or a comedy audiobook by your favourite author to keep you distracted while you manoeuvre through the busy, stress-inducing airport, during take-off, or any other time on your journey(s) which bring up a sense of panic. Knowing that you have a ‘safe place’ to mentally escape to, no matter what is going on around you, is a fantastic tool to keep close at hand as you travel.
Don’t Stop Breathing
Practise your deep, slow breathing before you go away until you can do it with ease. This type of breathing has been proven to reduce anxiety and can support you no matter the situation you are in, from waiting anxiously for an interview or exam to start, to travelling to a whole new country for the first time. Shortness of breath and a tight chest are symptoms of panic, so by lengthening your exhalations and bringing the air down deep into your lungs, thus expanding your chest and stomach, you are essentially reversing these effects in a very powerful way.
Two Ways To Go Herbal
- Herbal medications such as St John’s Wart have been shown to be highly effective at lowering anxiety levels. In fact, according to the experts at mental health charity Mind, research suggests that it could be as effective as some antidepressants.
- An alternative herbal go-to which you could consider trying is Rescue Remedy spray or sweets. “Medical News Today” published an article detailing the results of a trial of 111 people suffering from anxiety who used Rescue Remedy as a calming agent. The results, which were published in Complementary Health Practice Review, showed that when faced with high levels of situational anxiety, Rescue Remedy effectively reduced their stress when compared with the participants who were administering a placebo dose.
Prepare With a Prescription
If your travel anxiety is extreme and feels all-encompassing, then it may be worth seeking advice from your GP. They may prescribe you with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI’s, though if these are ineffective, there are many other variations which may suit your requirements better. Of course, it is best to begin taking a new prescription as early as possible before your holiday to help you to settle into the effects of the medication on your anxiety and ensure that it is working for you, so book an appointment as soon as you can.
If it is easier to speak to someone objective or from the comfort of your own home, then you can contact the medical experts and Doctors at Click Pharmacy who offer private appointments online via email and Skype. They can provide specialist guidance and help you in finding the right support for your worries and anxiety before you travel.
Call or email them on:
01922 633 777