Travel anxiety is the fear that accompanies the prospect of visiting some place strange and unfamiliar.
Travel anxiety is not officially a medical condition, but for some people, anxiety and depression during a long flight can stop them from enjoying their travel or vacation.
Learn some of the major symptoms and causes of anxiety and depression during a travel, as well as ways to calm and overcome it.
Symptoms of anxiety during travel
While the symptoms of anxiety differ according to each individual, if it relates to travel, when you are travelling, or when you have thoughts of travelling, you may experience the following symptoms:
Nausea or diarrhea
Chest pain, difficulty breathing, or rapid heart rate
Insomnia or trouble sleeping
Restlessness and agitation
And if they are overwhelming, can cause a panic attack.
When you have a panic attack, you will experience sweating, a racing heart, dizziness, and weakness, and disorientation. Sometimes, there may be a disconnection between you and your surroundings, or even a sense of impending doom.
Why do you feel anxious and depressed during a long flight?
Being anxious or depressed with travelling can develop from several experiences. In a particular research, 65% of car accident victims developed anxiety about travel.
Experiencing a panic attack in a strange area can also trigger anxiety and depression over travelling. Accessing information about foreign illnesses, plane crashes or other negative travel stories or experiences, can cause anxiety in some people.
Certain biological risk factors can also contribute to anxiety disorders. Clinical research has established very strong genetic links for developing anxiety as a young adult and beyond. Studies have also shown that neuroimaging can show changes in some part of the brain for people experiencing anxiety disorders.
How can you calm anxiety and depression during a long flight?
Know your triggers
Anxiety triggers are those factors that shoot up your anxiety symptoms.
These triggers are unique because they only cause anxiety when it relates to travel. These triggers can be identified with psychotherapy.
Make plans for certain scenarios
Most times, anxiety and depression during travel stems from “wild guesses” made during travelling. While no one can make plans for every possible scenario, you can always have an emergency plan for more common scenarios, such as:
What if I am out of funds? Maybe you could contact a friend or a relative
What if I get lost? Turn on your GPS or carry a paper map with you when travelling or exploring.
What if my health gets bad while on the trip? Get your travel health insurance handy before embarking on a journey. Many insurance policies include having access to healthcare facilities in different parts of the country or the world.
When you make preparations for these and other scenarios, you will discover that most, if not all problems have a solution, even when you are travelling.
Come along with a lot of distractions
What are those activities that you engage in that helps tone down your anxiety? For some, it may be movies, or video games. Others may be more comfortable with puzzles or books.
Whatever your distraction may be, always carry it along when you are travelling. Enjoyable distractions keep negative thoughts at bay and allows you to focus om important and positive things.
It is important that you learn relaxation techniques before embarking on any journey. It is also important that you don’t just learn them, but also use them while you are on your flight. Studies have shown that mindful mediation can cause a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms.
Taking deep breaths, relaxing your muscles, and grounding yourself can help you calm depression and anxiety during a long flight.
When you are travelling, go along with your friends
If you are anxious about travelling on your own, then what stops you from getting your buddy to go along with you. If you want to travel with someone, then that’s cool, because there are plenty of group or partner activities to enjoy.
In fact, your adventurous nature will come into action when you stay around someone with which you are comfortable.
If you feel anxious and depressed during travel or on a long flight, you will most certainly miss out on the fun of traveling. Before embarking on a trip, do some mindful preparation. This will tone down your negative thoughts and emotions about traveling.
Some options that can help reduce anxiety during a long flight include distractions, mindfulness, and even medications.
Both medication and psychotherapy can manage anxiety disorders effectively. Ensure that you contact a mental health professional to learn the best way to overcome your anxiety.
By: Tia Lynn