When it comes to traveling, are you a worrier about time management? Do you find yourself getting anxious at the thought of missed flights, traveling with little ones, lost luggage, etc? You can never prepare for unexpected events that may pop up while traveling, but you CAN control whether or not you allow these events to impact your mood and mindset while journeying domestically or internationally. Use the following 4 strategies to help take the stress out of flying the next time you’re traveling.
1. Certain Things Are OUT Of Your Control
When it comes to traveling, here’s what you CAN control:
- When you book your flight
- How much you pay for your flight
- What seat you’re sitting in
- What you pack
- When you leave for the airport
- … etc.
Here’s what you CAN’T control:
- Incoming flight delays
- Delayed departures
- Flight traffic control problems
- Airplane maintenance
- De-icing time
- Delayed flight staff / staff turn-over
- Who sits next to you on the plane
- Crying babies (even though we love them!)
- Weather delays
- Missed connections
It’s a pretty extensive list of things that you can’t control, right?
2. Acknowledge That You Can’t Control What You Can’t Control.
Reread that last sentence.
You can’t control, what you can’t control.
If you’re feeling stressed about missing a connection, worried about weather conditions, or are skeptical of the person next to you who just started coughing uncontrollably … guess what. You CAN’T control it!
You need to accept the things that you can’t control.
Take as much time as you need to repeat the sentence; “I can’t control what I can’t control.”
As Glenn Turner says; “Worrying is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do, but it gets your nowhere.”
Once you accept that there is nothing you can do to change these particular circumstances, move on to step #3:
…meditative breathing is POWERFUL. Trust me here.
I want you to experiment with this exercise the next time you are stressed while traveling (or in any other context of your life).
When you feel your heart racing, palms sweating, shoulders tensing, and start noticing some audible huffs and puffs leaving your lips… practice this exercise:
Over 3 seconds, slowly breathe in while simultaneously thinking; “I am present.”
Over 3 seconds, slowly breathe out while simultaneously thinking; “I am at peace.”
“I am present, I am at peace.”
The rhythm of this breathing exercise is very soothing; a wave-like quality. In, out. In, out. In, out. Nice and slow.
Once you feel like your breathing is slower and your attention is focused inward, acknowledge the tension in your shoulders and physically relax them.
TRY THIS NOW.
4. Re-Evaluate What You Are Thankful Of.
After you accept what you cannot control, recognize you have a heightened level of stress, begin to focus on your breathing, and then physically relax your shoulders, allow yourself to find 1 positive thing from this particular circumstance that you are grateful of.
Example #1: Your flight is delayed by an hour (to your final destination) and you find yourself instantly triggered, stressed, and upset.
Reframe your inner dialogue and find something to be grateful for:
Aren’t we fortunate, as humans, that we have the LUXURY to fly across the country and across the world in the span of a few hours or in less than a day?
Imagine if we didn’t have airplanes.
Imagine having to DRIVE the same distance.
An hour delay is a drop in the bucket compared to the alternative.
Now that I have an extra hour… I can take advantage of extra Wi-Fi time to listen to a new Podcast or catch up on emails I’ve been meaning to get through.”
Example #2: Your luggage gets lost upon arrival and won’t arrive to your hotel for another 24 hours.
Is this something I can control?
Is it ideal?
However, I have relatively clean clothes on right now so I am not going to let this unexpected event take control over my mindset.
Once we get to the hotel, I’ll be able to shower and will have shower supplies that I can use. The hotel will likely have a small convenience store for basic necessities for anything else that I really need.
I can turn my underwear inside out (yes- that’s a thing!), feel refreshed from my shower, and use this opportunity to be grateful for clean clothes, laundry, and the luxury of warm showers and free hotel amenities.
It is what it is.
I can’t change the outcome, but I CAN change how it will affect the rest of my day. This is a little hiccup.
I am going to go about my day and enjoy what beautiful adventures and fun memories are ahead of me!
I Get It. It’s Not Easy To Choose To Set Aside Your Frustrations And Anxieties.
It is actually quite challenging to stay positive when you’d rather roll your eyes, sigh, or mutter loudly your frustrations.
It is going to be challenging to physically and mentally change your outlook during the heat of a stressful moment.
However, TODAY, I want you to start practicing steps #1-4.
This way, when you travel and begin to feel your anxiety or worry escalating, your body will reflexively work through these techniques and de-escalate your stress.
Are you struggling to stay ahead of your stress?
We’re working on stress management in the Facebook Group!
Come hang out and join the conversation!