What is airport anxiety?
Airport anxiety refers to the anxiety experienced by individuals while in the airport or even before reaching the airport.
Airport anxiety can vary in its intensity from mild to severe. Where in severe cases people avoid even necessary travel to escape the discomforting emotions and thoughts that follow while in the airport.
What are the symptoms of airport anxiety?
The main features and symptoms of airport anxiety are:
- · Apprehension,
- · Confusion,
- · Feeling on edge,
- · A sense of helplessness,
- · Repeated negative thoughts,
- · Muscle tension,
- · Palpitations and
- · Difficulty breathing
What are the reasons for airport anxiety?
There can be several reasons for people to experience airport anxiety some of which are:
Packing and planning ahead
Studies indicate that packing bags for holidays is one of the most common reasons for people to experience anxiety and stress leading to airport anxiety.
Airport anxiety resulting from packing and planning is more commonly witnessed among women than in men.
There is a constant fear that they have forgotten to pack something important or left something behind.
Traveling to the airport
Another reason that can contribute to airport anxiety is reaching the airport in time.
Studies indicate that people experience a sense of anxiety by anticipating if they will be able to make it to the airport on time due to the uncertain amount of traffic and other unpredictable factors that might get in way of reaching the airport.
Individuals might also experience airport anxiety due to the procedure of checking in that is done before boarding the flight.
A number of procedures that account for the entire checking in and the acknowledgment by the airport staff might contribute to one’s airport anxiety
People’s anxiousness related to the airport might primarily be due to the security checks at various points in the airport.
It is found that another reason for people experiencing airport anxiety could be due to the procedure of baggage collection.
The fear of losing out on one’s bags and important belongings might be a major concern for many.
Waiting for transfers
Airport anxiety could also be triggered due to the fear that is associated with missing out of flight at an intermediate airport when there is lay off.
Many individuals fear missing out on a flight during transfer or even experience anxiety due to a set of procedures that are repeated at the intermediate airport\
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
How can therapy help to reduce anxiety?
Some of the ways to manage anxiety are by seeking help in a clinical setup. This can be done in the following ways:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.
Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear in a graded order that usually starts with exposing the individual to a stimulus that is least triggering and going up the ladder.
As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them each session aims to make individuals comfortable with a real-life situation that they might face.
Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.
It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same condition or fears they might not feel left alone or isolated.
Airport anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.
What are the self-help strategies for airport anxiety?
Take control of your breathing
It is normal for airport anxiety to bring about changes in your body, for instance, increased breathing. these changes often make an individual feel uncomfortable.
One can take control of this discomfort by carrying out a few simple steps such as holding one’s breath for two seconds and slowly letting it out through their mouth.
Repeating this step several times until one feels relaxed. This is most effective when one sits down in a comfortable position with the back straight.
Carry out progressive muscle relaxation
Another effective technique to manage airport anxiety is progressive muscle relaxation.
Progressive muscle relaxation involves flexing and releasing a group of muscles in one’s body which helps to maintain their attention on the feelings of this contraction and relaxation.
Push back negative thoughts
One very effective way to manage anxiety is to focus and work on one’s negative thoughts actively.
Think about the negative thoughts that one has about the particular situation and write them down. Following which the person is required to write down positive thoughts that challenge the negative ones.
Even though it might sound strange for a few people airport anxiety is prevalent and causes significant distress to those experiencing it.
Being able to avoid air travel every time might not be possible or rational for individuals. Hence individuals must acquire effective ways to deal with airport anxiety which makes travel less stressful.
Instances when people are running out of time and the discomforting emotions and thoughts are tagging along with the individual the best possible options could be taking prescribed medications which helps to reduce the discomforting emotions temporarily.
However, it is believed that temporary solutions to conditions such as anxiety can be harmful in a long run.
Therefore, it is suggested that people seek professional help to effectively manage their airport anxiety.
What we recommend for curbing Anxiety
Below are some of the services and products we recommend for anxiety
- Online therapy is another thing we should all try. We highly recommend Online therapy with a provider who not only provides therapy but a complete mental health toolbox to help your wellness.
- Anxiety Weighted Blankets are by far the number 1 thing every person who suffers from anxiety should at least try. Anxiety Blankets may improve your sleep, allow you to fall asleep faster and you can even carry them around when chilling at home.
- Amber light therapy from Amber lights could increase the melatonin production in your body and help you sleep better at night. An Amber light lamp helps reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and increases overall sleep quality.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Is airport anxiety real?
Studies indicate that stress and anxiety at the airport are an integral part of the flying experience, that people go through even before reaching the airport.
Why do airports stress me out?
People might experience a sense of anxiousness or increased stress at the airport. this stress and anxiety can be projected in many different forms.
One of the most common reasons that cause anxiety to individuals is the simple fact of getting to the airport in the presence of traffic.
Other factors that might cause a sense of anxiety among travelers might be fear of flight, long travel hours, the reason for travel, other situations, and personal factors.
What is flight anxiety?
Flight anxiety refers to the fear of flying. This field is so strong that it can prevent a person from traveling to a place is by air or causes a significant amount of distress to people when air travel cannot be avoided and is necessary.
How to get overcome flight anxiety?
Some ways to manage or overcome flight anxiety are:
- Increasing awareness about the built-in safety features in the aircraft.
- Taking some lessons about the experience.
- Seeking help from a professional in extreme cases.
- Choosing a seat that helps to avoid anxiety.
- Actively working on a distraction that helps to ease the discomfort caused due to anxiety.
- Speaking to other passengers on the flight
- Consciously avoiding negative thoughts related to flight mishaps.
What helps with flying anxiety?
several self-help strategies help to reduce flying anxiety. These usually involve cognitive restructuring or distraction techniques.
However, in severe cases, individuals can seek professional help or even take medications needed for flight-related anxiety.
Medications are particularly helpful when it is impossible to avoid travel and the anxiety cannot be controlled with the help of self-help strategies.