Holidays are a funny thing. We normally really enjoy our holiday once we are there, but numerous studies have shown that the build up to a holiday can actually be pretty stressful.
And it is hardly surprising – there are a lot of things to be anxious about…
Do any of these seem familiar to you?
- Anxiety about your passport? Have you remembered it? Has it expired
- Anxiety about flying
- Anxiety about leaving pets behind? Will they be looked after properly?
For most of us, anxiety emerges as we contemplate the uncertainties of the future. So, when we are talking about holidays, it is the uncertainties involved in reaching our destination, and not being sure what it will be like. We speculate about the possibilities that might befall us, and we tend to set our radar to notice only threats and dangers. We spend our time ‘worrying’ with ‘what if?’ questions, which we nearly always answer negatively.
What if my passport gets stolen and I am stranded? What if my dog doesn’t like being in kennels? What if I can’t handle the 12 hour plane journey? … And so on.
‘Worry’ is a thinking style which is circular, non-productive, and negatively biased, and which maintains anxiety, and helps to focus attention on potential negative outcomes. When we make ourselves anxious about holidays or holiday preparations, we exaggerate, for ourselves and others, how bad those outcomes might be, and we underestimate our own ability to deal with the possible feared outcome. Possibility becomes probability and we begin to experience the familiar symptoms of anxiety – increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, sweaty palms, and a racing sensation in our heads, and on and on.
So, seeing as August is one of the busiest months for holidays, the College of Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy have put some tips together to help you with any holiday anxiety – so you can just get on with the business of enjoying your holiday.
- Mindfulness Meditation is one possibility. It helps us remain in the present rather than worrying about the future. (Find out more about our Master Class in Mindfulness here).
- Be organised and don’t leave packing to the last minute.
- Accept the possibility of risk and uncertainty. Of course it is possible that things can go wrong but in reality most of the things we worry about don’t happen and even if they do they are usually not as bad as we had imagined. Most of us liked or still like adventure stories. See your holiday as a mini adventure. All adventures contain risk.
- Develop a sense of resiliency to the possibility of things being challenging. See yourself being able to cope rather than thinking ‘everything must go smoothly and everything must be easy’.
If you are really struggling with anxiety about your holiday (for example anxiety about flying), you may want to be consider seeing a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist. Hypnosis is an altered state of awareness, which a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist will use as a tool to achieve a state in which unhealthy beliefs and self-defeating behaviours can be re-thought. A more rational and healthy assessment of potential threat or danger is encouraged and a more adaptive view of our own ability to deal with the potential challenge is developed. The use of a relaxing hypnotic trance is often used to aid belief change and to help in achieving a change in potentially damaging and habitual behavioural patterns.
If you have any questions about holiday anxieties, please do ask them below, and we will do our best to help