If you have panic disorder or any other mental illness, panic attacks and anxiety-related symptoms might keep you from travelling. Travelling to new and strange places, away from the safety of your home, can make you nervous and insecure. Moreover, you may be even conscious and afraid of others witnessing your nervousness and fear.
Luckily, there are some steps you can undertake to manage your symptoms while travelling. Here we have handpicked six for you.
When knitting travel plans, make sure to put some effort into planning and preparing how you are going to deal with your symptoms. The anticipation of uneasy travel will only trigger more anxiety and stress about your trip. Be prepared to face your panic attacks by having a set of coping skills ready beforehand. For instance, deep breathing techniques, meditation, and visualization may help you get through the journey.
Go with your travel buddy
Most people with anxiety and panic disorder have one or more loved ones that they feel safe and comfortable with. If it’s possible, try to enlist a trusted family member or friend to travel with you. However, make sure that the companion is aware of your anxiety and fears. They may help you in coping with your symptoms and boost your sense of security while travelling. For many, just having that one person is all that they need to have a relaxing trip.
Let go of your intuition
At first glance, this tip may not seem right. Practically every internet on internet about staying safe while traveling will ask you to listen to your intuition. However, the problem for anxious people is that your instincts will always tell you that something bad is going to happen. If anxious people paid attention to their intuition, they would rarely ever step outside the house. So, for once, learn to let go and take things as they come.
Get out of your comfort zone
Repeated exposure to your fears and reservations is more effective at treating anxiety than avoidance, and the best way to trump over anxiety is by doing one thing a day that scares you. Travel offers a great opportunity for this. Whether it’s sorting out the public transport in an unfamiliar city or accepting an invite to hang out with a local, try getting out of your comfort zone slowly.
Don’t fight or ignore your symptoms
In case your symptoms become too overpowering to distract yourself from, try to simply allow them to run their course. Panic attacks and anxiety often heighten within a few minutes and then gradually taper off. If you resist them, they may actually backfire with heightened intensity. In some cases, it is best to surrender to your symptoms, reminding yourself that they will soon pass. It will help you strengthen your sense of control.
Have someone to call at home
It may seem farfetched, but you may also want to consider having someone that you can call if you experience anxiety – a family member or friend. Ask someone you know will be around. Share with them that you have travel anxiety and you want to know if they could be available if you needed to call someone. Just knowing that there is someone can often be enough to show a major decrease in your anxiety levels.