Today’s travelers have a lot more stress to contend with than we did in a pre-9/11 world. As a media psychiatrist, I have studied this growing problem, and can share some suggestions with you. Here are 5 tips to make your flying experience a less stressful one.
First, you need to understand what’s bothering you, from the time you reach airport curbside to the time you retrieve your luggage.
When you enter the airport, the butterflies in your stomach and the scowl on your face are caused by the apprehension you feel, remembering the unpleasantness of the last trip.
When you go through the security check point, it is not only annoying to have to take your shoes off and be examined under a large microscope, but these jarring inconveniences break through your denial of terrorism.
Next, sitting on the plane, you are plagued with worries, such as what’s going to happen at your destination or whether you remembered to lock your door.
And some people have to contend with fear of flying.
Once on the ground, you pray that you see your luggage coming round the bend and that it hasn’t wound up on a plane headed for the other side of the world.
Whew, this almost makes you wonder whether you should take another trip. But I surely don’t mean to discourage you, because life would be blah without travel. There is so much fabulous stuff to see. So here are the tips I promised:
- Prepare days in advance. This means getting enough sleep, eating in a healthy manner, packing leisurely so you don’t forget anything, drinking enough water, taking an immunity booster (such as echinacea), making a to-do list of things to do when you get back so you can put them behind you.
- Look up the latest rules regarding what your airline allows for baggage weight and size before they charge you, and what the FAA and TSA allow you to take on board.
- Get to the airport early and check in. Plan to use your extra time by eating at one of the airport restaurants, browsing in the shops, and making last minute phone calls.
- Avoid discomforts on the plane by dressing in layers so that you can regulate your own warmth, not giving into the temptation to drink too much alcohol, and not watching or reading anything that will upset you.
- And last, but not least, bring a laptop that you can play a relaxation audio or video CD/DVD.
This week’s post is from Carole Lieberman, M.D., a renowned “Media Psychiatrist,” and a three-time Emmy award-winner who analyzes the psychological impact of world events on various media outlets.