Travel can be exciting, but it can also be stressful. Many of us dread the thought of leaving our homes and venturing out into the unknown. Traveling can also be an incredibly nerve-wracking experience for those with specific kinds of anxiety, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), agoraphobia, or a fear of traveling alone — all of which are common forms of travel anxiety. Luckily, travel anxiety is something that many people experience regularly, so there are resources available to help you manage your fears. Here’s how you can combat travel anxiety to enjoy your trips more effectively.
Try to Pinpoint the Exact Cause of Your Anxiety
According to psychologist Dr. Jamie Kurtz, author of The Happy Traveler: Unpacking the Secrets of Better Vacations, while it might be challenging to pinpoint the exact cause of your anxiety, it’s still an excellent first step towards finding a solution. There are several possible causes of travel anxiety, including general stress or anxiety, relationship issues, financial concerns, health issues, and family dynamics. If you can pinpoint the exact cause of your anxiety, you’ll be better equipped to address it and figure out how to combat it.
Start with Micro Exposures Before You Go
Many people find that starting small is the best way to combat anxiety. Dr. Kurtz opines that micro exposure is a way of coping with intense anxiety before you go by doing a tiny thing that distracts you from the bigger something you’re anxious about. Micro exposures are short-term solutions, but they can be enough to help you get through your trip unscathed.
Take Deep Breaths or a Walk
Another way to combat travel anxiety is to take deep breaths. Anxiety is a biological response to potential danger, so it makes sense that it can cause us to feel like we are in trouble. Calming yourself down can reduce the adrenaline you’re releasing and soothe your brain. Anxiety might also be tackled by going for a round of walking. It can be a great way to clear your head and relax before traveling. It is also helpful in relieving stress, as you can get some exercise while doing so!
Visualize a Positive Experience
Another thing you can do to combat travel anxiety is visualizing a positive experience. When you’re anxious about traveling, try visualizing a positive experience you can have while traveling. This will help you to remember that you’re not in danger, you’re safe, and that everything is okay.