3 Strategies for Low-Stress Plane Travel
Long lines. Tight quarters. Bumpy rides. Even if you love exploring new places, traveling by plane can be stressful. Here are three strategies for keeping calm on your next airborne adventure.
Press These Acupressure Points
Acupressure is an effective technique for staying calm while traveling. Press these points in a circular motion, using firm pressure, in the moments when you’re feeling stressed. As a preventive strategy leading up to a trip, press them several times a day for at least one minute.
Essential oils come in little, airplane-allowable bottles, but they pack a powerful punch.
Yintang is your third eye, located in the middle of your eyebrows. “This is a great, easy-to-reach point for calming yourself during tense or anxious travel moments,” says Denise Cicuto, a licensed acupuncturist in San Francisco, California. “Because of its location, Yintang can also help reduce headaches, but its most common use is for stress reduction.”
If you’re in a situation where pressing your forehead feels embarrassing, you can also reach for your wrist. There is a series of acupressure points along the inside of the wrist—Heart 4, 5, 6 and 7—that are all indicated for anxiety. Find Heart 4 on the pinky-side of your wrist, about 1.5 inches up from the crease. Starting at Heart 4, use your thumb to rub downward toward Heart 7, found in the depression just beneath the pisiform bone at your wrist.
Through hypnosis, you can shift your brain into feeling excited rather than anxious about air travel. This is because anxiety and excitement present similarly in their physical symptoms—shortness of breath, faster heartbeat, body tension—but the emotional aspects are different.
“Hypnosis essentially tricks your mind and body into feeling excitement rather than anxiety,” says Marisa Fanelli, a certified hypnotherapist in Natick, Massachusetts. “It helps you not just tolerate plane travel but actually enjoy it.”
Fanelli recommends a simple hypnosis exercise that you can do before a trip or while you’re in the air:
Close your eyes and think about the anticipation you had as a child when you knew you were going somewhere new. Now think about the trip you are taking. Whenever physical symptoms of anxiety appear, take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds. Release it, and as you do, repeat this to yourself: “I am so excited about this trip. I can feel this excitement in every part of my body.”
“This exercise trains your subconscious mind to associate physical symptoms of stress with positive emotions,” says Fanelli.
Pack Essential Oils in Your Carry-On
Essential oils come in little, airplane-allowable bottles, but they pack a powerful punch. If you’re a nervous traveler, keep a bottle or two of calming essential oils in your carry-on. Popular oils for stress reduction include rose, lavender, bergamot and frankincense.
“Put a drop of the oil in your palm and rub your hands together,” says Jodie Tassello, a licensed acupuncturist and certified aromatherapist in Orangeburg, New York. “Cup your hands over your nose and mouth and take some slow breaths in through the nose. Count to seven on the inhale, then slowly breathe out your nose while counting to seven. The cupped palms generate heat and help to further activate the oil.”