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Travel Anxiety Tips: Managing OCD & Anxiety While Traveling

Traveling is tough enough for those without anxiety, but for those who have an especially hard time with the extra stress, travel can be a nightmare. Whether you’re traveling alone or you’re responsible for a crying baby or rambunctious toddlers, Miami Hypnosis & Therapy can help you with a few simple steps to take. Read our top six tips to keep anxiety and OCD at bay on your journey.

1.  Give Yourself Extra Time


One of the easiest ways to waylay your stress is by giving yourself a lot of extra time before departure. Security lines, checking in bags, and unexpected delays will all add to the stress of those traveling with OCD and anxiety. Instead of just one or two hours extra, tack on a third and enjoy a tea once you arrive at your airline gate or train terminal. This is one of the most important travel anxiety tips, as it provides you enough time to panic a little if something happens, and then get yourself back on track.

2.  Expectations and Acceptance

meditation and acceptance

Before you even leave your house, you need to set your expectations and accept that things may not go exactly to plan. Long lines and traffic can be incredibly frustrating, but if you did travel anxiety tip number one, then you have enough time to spare. Do your best to stay positive or at the very least neutral. You have enough time, and you can tolerate the extra wait until you get to your gate.

3.  Practice Breathing Exercises

girl holding her breath

A good flight anxiety treatment, and essential travel anxiety tip, is to practice breathing exercises. Not only will they distract you from a potentially panic attack inducing situation, they make the time pass more quickly, and keep you calmer.

Slow, controlled breaths through the diaphragm are essential. Breathe in through your nose while counting to 10 and then exhale through your mouth for another count of 10. Forcing yourself to control your breathing can keep your OCD, anxiety, and anger in check.

4.  Fact-Checking Anxiety

girl thinking through problems

One of the reasons people get so anxious is because they’re so concerned with everything that could go wrong that they get overwhelmed. See if you can interrupt this snowball of imagined scenarios by interrupting yourself mid-thought. Whether you’re concerned you’re going to miss your flight or you’re worried they won’t have the right food for your needs, examine each worry to make sure it’s legitimate.

This travel anxiety tip works in two ways. It distracts you from whatever is making you worry in the first place and helps you dismiss or validate your fears. Once you’ve decided which concerns are legitimate, you can start putting together a plan of action if the problems actually become a reality. Now you’re prepared for any eventuality!

5.  Act Like Everything is Fine

smiling girl

Even if you are the exact opposite of calm, acting like everything is OK can help you feel better. You’re literally tricking your body into maintaining an even heart rate and breathing pattern. Check and adjust your body language to convince yourself that everything is fine. Are you clenching your jaw? Release it. Have your shoulders slowly been creeping up to your ears? Roll them out a few times to make sure your muscles are relaxed. If anyone is stressing you out, pause before reacting, and then respond in a calm manner so you don’t pass on your frustration. Your stress can affect others and create an endless feedback loop, so this travel anxiety tip helps more than just you.

6. Prep Distractions

playing distracting phone games

If you’re a nervous flyer, an ideal flight anxiety treatment is distractions. Prepare possible distractions in advance to ensure you’re ready the moment panic hits. Bring a book, download games on your phone, or bring a DVD to play on your laptop. Even singing along to music can help! The distraction travel anxiety tip forces your brain out of that emotional fear state and into using higher brain functions.

Miami Hypnosis & Therapy to the Rescue

Whether you’re traveling with OCD or you’re a nervous flyer, Miami Hypnosis & Therapy can help you overcome whatever fears you’re facing. Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation or explore our blog for more tips.

Anna Marchenko

Anna Marchenko, LMHC, M.A., Ed.M. is the principal therapist at Miami Hypnosis and Therapy. She holds a bachelor's degree from NYU and dual masters degrees from Columbia University. Marchenko’s hypnosis certification is from the only hypnosis program in Florida that has been certified by the state’s Board of Education. She helps her clients by utilizing an integrative approach to psychotherapy, tailored to each individual’s mental health journey, drawing from hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, NLP therapy, EMDR, and more.

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