Worried about queues at the airport? Don’t be!

Last week I flew out to Portugal. It’s been a few years since my last beach holiday so I should have been beyond excited – instead I started to worry about the queues at the airport. Would I get through in time? Would I make my flight? What if it got cancelled? I looked online for information on the situation at Manchester Airport, so of course every time I went on social media that’s all I saw, thanks to those pesky algorithms! I started sleeping badly, as it played on my mind. And did all that worrying help? Did it achieve anything? Of course not! (It was also completely unfounded, as the journey through the airport was completely hassle free – a timely reminder not to believe everything you read).

It was a valuable lesson, because it reminded me that even though I’m a trained hypnotherapist, and help others with their anxiety, my own sometimes still runs away with me, and I have to go back to basics.

So, here’s what I know, and how I used it to help myself.

  • The brain can’t tell the difference between what’s actually happening, and what you worry about. So, thinking about things that may go wrong will activate that stress response in the brain – causing anxiety.
  • Once that happens it’s a downward spiral, you start to catastrophise and the list of things you worry about grows, making you feel more anxious.
  • Anxiety is your brains way of helping you run away from a threat – but you can’t run away from something that hasn’t even happened, so those panicky feelings go round and round in your body.

Knowing that is all very well, but how do you stop it? Here’s what worked for me:

  1. When you’re feeling anxious, avoid social media. Scrolling between good and bad news elevates your stress hormones.
  2. Focus on what you can control. In my case that meant dropping bags at the airport the night before, arriving early and booking the airport lounge.
  3. Distract yourself from negative thoughts, in the daytime you can try meditation to calm your mind; in the night I listen to sleep stories on the calm app. You can also try my sleep relaxation track on YouTube.
  4. Remind yourself of everything you’re grateful for and write down everything that’s been good about your day. This helps to switch off the fight/flight response. So does deep breathing by the way.

It can help to remember that anxiety is a normal response to stressful life events, but if you’re feeling it constantly and it’s impacting on your ability to enjoy life, there are things you can do to reduce it. To find out how hypnotherapy can help, book a free telephone consultation.