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Airport Stress: How to Beat Airplane and Airport Stress

September 2nd, 2014 by Hale Dwoskin

Crowded airplane cabins, long security check lines, and flight delays are all-too-common at the nation’s nearly 20,000 airports.

Still, nearly 5 million Americans traveled by airplane over the peak holidays, and last year over 9 million took to the skies to visit friends and family over Christmas and New Year’s.

Battling the crowds and making it through security in one piece is not easy. In fact, airport stress is more stressful than facing a stone-throwing mob, according to a study by neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis.

After fitting four passengers with monitors to record heart rate, blood pressure and psychological stress, Dr. Lewis found that passenger heart rates peaked at four times their resting levels and psychological stress levels “exceeded those recorded amongst Formula 1 racing drivers and free-fall parachutists.”

“We have measured people in all kinds of situations from riot policemen confronting a stone-throwing mob to racing drivers and sky-divers and these are among the highest peaks in heart rate and blood pressure that we have ever seen,” said Dr. Lewis.

So for those times when you have to fly no matter what (whether it’s to get your great grandmother’s famous chocolate chip cookies or to make headway on a business deal), how can you arrive at your destination with your mental sanity at least partially intact?

First off, remember that no matter how it seems both crowds and noisy places are not at war with you. They are simply how the environment is in that particular place at that particular time.

The key to feeling at ease in any situation — including while sitting on a noisy airplane or waiting in an intolerably long line — is knowing how to let go of your anxiety, and actually accepting the situation how it is.

The Sedona Method is a simple tool you can use to learn how to let go in the moment, no matter how stressed out you may feel.

I would recommend that you let go of resisting how the environment is, and let go of your resistance to the environment in general. You should also let go of resisting how you feel about it. When you allow what is to be rather then pushing back or resisting it, you feel more comfortable wherever you are.

Along with The Sedona Method, which once you learn will become your favorite travel companion, you can also make your next trip to the airport run more smoothly by:

  • Choosing a smaller airport, which may be less crowded, if you can
  • Giving yourself plenty of time to make your flight (including getting through security checkpoints)
  • Bringing healthy snacks with you to keep your energy up (many airlines are no longer offering complimentary meals and snacks onboard)
  • Carrying on your luggage (and avoiding hassles with lost luggage)
  • If you do check your luggage, making sure your bags are securely labeled with your name, address, destination and phone number
  • Taking advantage of online check-in, if your airline offers it

-Hale