Traveling is an amazing experience, but not for people suffering from anxiety. Dealing with anxiety abroad is even more difficult. When I began traveling the world in my early 20s, I got extremely anxious whenever I was abroad so I know firsthand what travel anxiety is. I didn’t enjoy many wonderful places because of it. I tried and tested many ways to overcome travel anxiety and now really enjoy every trip. The next time you are in a foreign country and have that scared and anxious feeling in your stomach, follow these little tips to make traveling much easier.
1. Positivity breeds positive thoughts
The power of positive thinking is immense, and believe it or not, it really works. Positive attitude breeds positive thoughts, which means you feel more relaxed and less worried. The trick is, your subconscious believes whatever you tell it. If you tell it you can’t travel by plane, you can’t do this so tell yourself that you can do it and you will do it. When anxiety strikes, dwelling on positive things can trick your mind into thinking that everything is fine.
Although it sounds too simple, taking control of your breathing can help ease anxiety. Focus on your breathing to break the panic feeling and slow the heart rate. It will help you get rid of negative thoughts and panic attacks in a matter of 10 minutes. Anxiety melts away and your positive attitude is restored. Meditation and yoga are great options as well.
3. Talk to your parent or your friend
When you are in a foreign country, you might have no one to talk to. Plus, you may feel like no one cares about you. Just like Clifton Fadiman said, “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” Don’t let your anxiety ruin your trip. If you worry about something, why not call your parent or your best friend? They know how to calm you down and boost your mood. You will instantly feel less lonely and less anxious.
Like depression, anxiety can be caused by a great variety of different factors, from everyday events to traumatic ones such as plane crashes. When you feel like your worries prevent you from enjoying your trip, just imagine that they fly in the air, like butterflies and you watch them fly past. Acknowledge your worries, but don’t let them take hold. The nature link can also work great. Maybe it sounds crazy, but trust me it really works.
5. Create a safe zone
Go to the place that makes you feel happy and safe. Having a safe zone is beneficial when dealing with anxiety. It might be a coffee shop you are familiar with, a local group, or some tourist information center. Many people consider volunteering in a foreign city. I love this idea. Not only will you make a lot of new friends, you will feel safer as well.
Being abroad is very different to what you’re used to, and it can be difficult to shake the feeling of stress or worry. Find some cheap yet effective ways to relax your mind and body. Opt for a massage, aromatherapy, scented candles, hypnotherapy, and anything that may work for you. I always carry rescue lozenges in my handbag, just in case. Relaxation can help you deal with the cause of your worry and anxiety.
7. See a doctor
Finally, if you can’t deal with anxiety, no matter how hard you try, look for medical attention. Head to the hospital and if you don’t know language ask for a translator so that you can understand what a doctor is telling you. You might get some medications, but you should know that different countries treat conditions in a different way, so it might not be what you expect.
With these tips you can travel the world and forget about anxiety. However, if you’ve been suffering from severe anxiety for a few years, I don’t recommend you to take your trip until you cope with your health issues. Healthy people see more and do more when traveling so make sure you visit your doctor first. Have you ever suffered from travel anxiety?