How To Cope With Travel Stress ……….. Identify the Source
In previous articles we’ve discussed ACCEPTANCE (see article) and AWARENESS (see article) as initial steps toward better coping with stress. An important next step in coping with stress is Identifying the Source of the Stress.
To effectively cope with and manage stress, you really need to identify the source of your stress as clearly as possible. Sometimes when you are traveling the source of your stress is only too obvious. Think about the time when you were flying in coach and the person in the row in front of you insisted on reclining his or her seat. Somewhat stressful for most of us – especially stressful for those, like me, over six feet tall! The source of that stress (and knee pain!) is fairly clear. Or, how about the time you are running in the rain to catch the bus only to have the doors close and watch it pull away without you? Yep – that can be a clear source of stress. On occasions such as these it’s fairly easy to know are experiencing stress and stress related symptoms -increased heart rate, irritability, etc.
But there can be other times when stress is sneaky. You can be in a situation where everything appears to be calm and in order. Perhaps watching children play on the beach Stanley Harbor in Hong Kong, or enjoying a coffee at an outdoor cafe in Paris. Even at times such as these you can feel stressed. You might feel tense, nervous, irritable, or sad. What’s that about? I mean, this is travel right? This is adventure – this is Hong Kong – this is Paris. What’s to be upset about here?
If the source of your stress is not obvious, then it’s time to slow down and reflect. Take a break and give it some thought. It’s sort of “Awareness – Part 2.” Previously we discussed becoming aware of your symptoms of stress. Now it’s time to become more aware of the source of your stress. To do this you need to slow down and give yourself a break – take a “time out” to think and consider. Where are you? What’s going on? What are you doing and experiencing? Where have you been? Where are you going? Each situation will be different but you really should give yourself some time to sort it out a bit. You might be lonely, You might be homesick. You might be tired of constant movement. You might long for something familiar. The list is endless. But trust me – even the experienced traveler has these types of feelings and encounters stresses associated with travel.
One thing you might consider is keeping a journal of your journey. Of course you can journal about the places you go and the things you see. But you might try going beyond that – journaling about your feelings and emotions and the quality of your travel experience. Keeping a travel journal of this sort by it’s very nature requires that you slow down and reflect. It helps keep you in touch with the emotional side of your travel experience. And the process can help you become more quickly aware (there’s that word again) of when you are feeling stressed and what the source might be.
Identifying the Source of Your Stress helps put you in a position to more effectively cope with or manage your stress. So for now, practice becoming aware of stress and it’s source. Until next time ……..
Be calm and aware …………….. And Enjoy The Adventure!
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© 2013 – 2017, Bruce W Bean, Ph.D. All rights reserved.