It’s starts with the excitement of planning a trip—whether it’s going home to visit family or to visit a new city, country or continent. And then as the countdown starts, so does my anxiety.
This is how I travel. Always.
My fear of flying reminds me of how human we all are and how that gift can be taken away from us by “a simple twist of fate” (to quote Mr. Bob Dylan).
My fear of flying doesn’t translate into a fear of travel in general. It doesn’t translate into a fear of riding the train (which I enjoy incredibly so), travelling by car or by bus despite the higher chance of an accident occurring in all of these modes of transport.
And while I try to remind myself that travelling by any means poses a risk—along with getting out of bed every day—there’s no reason my fear of flying should be so much higher, yet it is.
However, I don’t let it stop the wanderlust that flows through my body.
The joy that travel brings, the discovery of new places, new foods and cultures. I couldn’t give it up over a simple fear.
So, what to do?
As a daily routine, I look to yoga to let my mind break free of the daily grind. I use the 30 to 90 minutes to focus only on breath and movements, to forget about what troubles have snuck up onto me that day or that linger from days past.
With an upcoming flight heavy on my mind, I focus deeper on my breaths and the flow between one movement to the other. I remind myself that every day waking up is a new start, a gift (not to sound cliché) and that travelling by plane is the safest way to travel.
I flow through the movements with this mantra in my mind, visualizing a safe and bump-free journey; I do it over and over again until I let go of the anxiety.
Once I make it to the airport and through security, I repeat my mantra in my mind. I don’t break out the yoga mat, but I close my eyes and focus on the breath, on the message of a safe and pleasant flight and I push my anxiety out of my body.
Although yoga and meditation hasn’t gotten rid of my anxiety associated with flying, it helps to make the journey more bearable. It helps calm me down and remind myself it’s all out of my control. And when those breathing techniques don’t seem to be working out, I take an anxiety pill to help make the travel easier.
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