Ease Your Travel-Related Stress

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Travel StressTraveling, whether for business or pleasure, can be downright stressful. Getting to the airport on time, making it through security, finding your gate, enduring the takeoff and landing, potentially sitting near a crying baby – all of it can raise your stress level through the roof.

You can overcome some of this stress by planning ahead – check your flights to make sure they aren’t delayed, make sure you know the security measures that are in place ahead of time, and book reservations for hotels, taxis or car services at your destination.

You should also plan on being early. We know you’re insanely busy, but just do it. Giving yourself an ample amount of time before your flight will reduce some of the stress that comes from finding parking, checking bags, moving through security and other aspects of travel that can be much more stressful if you’re feeling rushed.

Despite all of your planning and timeliness, if you still find yourself stressed out from traveling, there are some exercises you can do to relieve some of that feeling.

To start, you can try some breathing exercises, which are very easy to do.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sit or stand in a relaxed position.
  2. Slowly inhale through your nose and count to five in your head.
  3. Let the air out of your mouth for the duration of eight seconds.
  4. Repeat this several times.

While you’re doing your breathing exercises, try to expand your abdomen outward while you’re inhaling, rather than raising your shoulders up. Not only is this a more relaxed and natural way to breathe, but it also helps your lungs fill more fully with fresh air.

When you’re exhaling, you can try to make your throat tighter as the air comes out almost like a whisper. This type of breathing, which is used in some forms of yoga, provides even more relief. Try breathing exercises just a few times to release your tension, or try it for several minutes as a form of meditation. Whatever works!

If that doesn’t ease your stress enough, you can try Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) – a technique in which you tense and then release all of your muscle groups, leaving your body feeling relaxed after.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Find a quiet place to sit or lie down and make yourself comfortable. A private space also helps.
  2. Start by tensing up all the muscles in your face. Make a grimace with your face, close your eyes as tightly as possible and clench your teeth. Hold this position while you inhale for eight seconds.
  3. After counting to eight, exhale and relax completely. Let your facial muscles go completely lax. You’ll feel all of the tension seep from your face – enjoy it, it’s a great feeling!
  4. Next up are your neck and shoulders. Completely tense all of these muscles while inhaling and counting to eight. Then completely relax them and exhale.
  5. Continue this process of tensing and relaxing down your body with each muscle group: chest, abdomen, right arm, left arm, buttocks, right leg and left leg.

For a shorter version, focus on four main muscle groups:

  • face, neck, shoulders and arms
  • abdomen and chest
  • buttocks
  • legs and feet.

By focusing quickly on each and every muscle group one after the other, you can completely relax your body. You might feel so relaxed after PMR, you may not even remember what got you so stressed out in the first place.

Photo from http://www.travelstart.co.za/blog/10-of-the-wackiest-airport-features-around-the-world/.

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