- Anxiety affects people differently and it’s difficult to control
- I’ve found that travel helps calm my anxiety
- Travel forces me to face my fears and insecurities and deal with them.
Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes. For me, it’s an uneasy feeling that creates a sense of worry, urgency and tension, and it’s very difficult to control. I get anxious about getting things done, seeing the world, and keeping up with my peers.
According to the American Psychological Association, people with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns, and they may avoid certain situations out of worry. I can relate. But I’ve found that if I channel it into somethingit helps calm my anxiety.
For me, one of the biggest things that has helped calm my anxiety is travel.
It might be the opposite for some, as I understand that travel is stressful. I cringe at the process of going to the airport, navigating my way through security, lining up 40 minutes before my flight and flying in a plane. But the act of being in a foreign environment and meeting new people surprisingly helps me become a more confident person. And that confidence allows me overcome my fears and fight my anxiety.
Let me explain.
Travel helps me focus on being in the present.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the future. We make to-do lists, plan ahead for appointments and meetings, set work deadlines and make weekend plans on a Monday. But planning ahead like that can be exhausting. And for me, it really triggers my anxiety.
When I’m traveling, I feel like I’m living in the moment. I’m noticing things around me, I’m having better conversations and I appreciate the world we live in. Something I (surprisingly) enjoy about traveling abroad is not constantly being connected. I’m not looking down at my phone or on a computer screen — I’m using all my senses to take in our beautiful world. It’s refreshing and liberating to be in the present. And it really calms me down.
It enhances my creativity.
Sometimes I get writer’s block and that’s a huge trigger for my anxiety because it makes me worried about how I’ll continue with a story. But when I travel, I’m being curious — I’m asking questions, I’m learning about a place, I’m doing exotic things and I’m interacting with foreign people who might inspire me.
Travel challenges me to pay attention to people, places and ideas that I might brush over in my day-to-day routine. The curiosity that travel instills in me recharges my batteries so that I can use what I’ve learned on the road and apply it to my creative space. It’s energizing to experience the world we live in. And that energy provides my mind with more room for creativity.
Travel puts things into perspective.
Sometimes my anxiety stems from an uncomfortable feeling of not having control. And when you travel, there will definitely be situations that are out of your control, such as losing your luggage or a flight cancellation. Being exposed to situations like that helps me face the reality of the situation and deal with it.
As hard as it may be to face that reality, it does put things into perspective. I have to remember that these misfortunes are not only happening to me, but also to other people (in the case of a flight cancellation). If they can deal with it, why can’t I? Travel reminds me to embrace a rational attitude when it comes to my everyday life.