Gratitude may be the best way to regain your balance when frustration kicks in. In this USA Today article, Mindpath Health’s Sandeep Vaishnavi, MD, PhD, provides coping strategies for summer travelers.

Coping strategies for crazy 2022 travel season: Take a breath and lower your expectations

Coping strategies for crazy 2022 travel season: Take a breath and lower your expectations

Almost without exception, tourism officials describe what’s about to happen: It’s like a tsunami that is slowly rising on the horizon and will soon engulf all of us.

“This summer,” says Cleous Young, a frequent traveler and author of “The Airport Adventure,” a children’s book about airport safety, “whatever can go wrong will go wrong.”

Lower your expectations. Experts say you shouldn’t look for 2020 service levels and prices – you’ll be disappointed if you do. “Lower your expectations,” advises Dr. Sandeep Vaishnavi, a psychiatrist with Mindpath Health. “The brain’s reward system gets particularly activated if results exceed expectations. In the case of a busy travel season, if you lower your expectations and things go right sometimes, the brain will feel rewarded and have a boost of dopamine.” Expecting less can make you happier.Take care of yourself. This is especially true if you’re traveling with kids. There’s a temptation to ignore your needs and focus on taking care of everyone else, which is not much of a vacation.

Watch what you eat and drink. It’s tempting to let yourself go on your first big trip, but that would be a mistake, warns Dan Meyer, director of Back & Pack, an experiential travel program. “Focus on what you’re putting into your body just as much as what you’re not.” He says plant-based meals will give you vital nutrients when you travel.Repeat an affirmation or mantra. A positive statement that helps you overcome negative thoughts can help you get through a stressful flight.

Practice gratitude. “Remind yourself of how lucky and privileged you are for being able to travel at all,” says Raffaello Antonino, a counseling psychologist with Therapy Central, a counseling center in London. “Gratitude may be the best way to regain your balance when frustration kicks in – breathing in deeply and slowly and keeping in mind how lucky you are even to be traveling in the first place.”Forgetting to breathe. It’s how you breathe that matters when you’re dealing with travel-related stress. “Moments like checking your luggage, going to a service counter, going through airport security. Or sitting in traffic to and from airports, train stations, or on road trips.” Slow, deep breaths calm your nerves and help you become more focused.

Waiting until the last minute to book your rental car. Remember last summer, when rental cars were almost impossible to find? Experts are looking for a summer sequel. “Given the rental car shortage and flight schedule disruptions, it may be best for travelers to reserve the rental car first then the flight, and then the hotel.”

Read the full USA Today article with sources.

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