Article originally posted for MindBodyGreen.
Most of us feel at least some discomfort when we think about leaving home for extended periods of time. And for good reason: The act of leaving a place we’re comfortable with to go to a new or foreign environment can send us into fight-or-flight mode, alert and ready for anything. Research shows that travel over relatively short distances is associated with higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. As a psychotherapist and someone who struggles with anxiety, I’m all too familiar with this drill.
Fortunately, the more mindful we become of our anxiety surrounding travel, and the more awareness we develop, the more we can train ourselves to move through it in a positive way.
A few things to do before you travel that will help reduce your stress:
1. Identify your triggers.
While you’ve probably been told before that mantras and positive thinking can help ease travel anxiety, the truth is a little more nuanced than that. The first step in making your travel experience less stress-inducing is addressing your triggers ahead of time. For example, I’ve figured out that if I watch the news while I’m prepping to go away, I turn into a hot mess, worrying too much about the outcome of my trip instead of staying in the present moment. Now, I avoid the TV and social media altogether the night before a flight.