How can you make the most of your travel by applying mindfulness and meditation to your life?
By mindfulness we mean…. “Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally” – Jon Kabat-Zinh Mindfulness stems back to ancient times, mediation practiced by Mahayana Buddhists. Today, mindfulness has more scientific research behind it and is becoming recognized by some as complementary to traditional treatments and essential for true travel enjoyment. Mindfulness is about self-observation without criticism. Self-Awareness allows you to observe negative thoughts and deal with them before fully experiencing their effects, giving you greater control over your life and well-being.
The Point to RELAX while traveling. This happens due to activation of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system (responsible for regulating the body’s unconscious actions) which produces a mentally clear and alert state.)
How to travel Mindfully
Here are some ways you can apply mindfulness to your travel to get the most out of your trip.
Nervous flyers –
Studies have shown that mindful practices can ease the symptoms of anxiety and help with a fear of flying by allowing you to calm your mind and take control of your emptions. Practice the following to calm yourself while on your plane seat:
- Sit comfortably in your seat with hands resting on your lap
- Bring all your attention to the physical act of breathing but breathe normally.
- Start to notice the breath as the enters your body through your nose and travels to your lungs
- You will start to notice that each time your breath in, your diaphragm or stomach will expand and each time you breathe out your diaphragm or stomach will relax.
- If you find that thoughts intrude, simply allow them to be and gently bring your awareness back to your breathing.
Repeat this for 3-5 minutes. Body Scan Meditation will also help make your flight less troublesome and allow you to enjoy the flight. Starting with your feet, pay attention to the physical sensation, such as coolness, warmth, tension etc. Don’t judge them, or try to change them, just be aware of them. Repeat this process for each body part, moving slowly upwards. Finally let your awareness drift gently and slowly back down your body, until your awareness settles back at your feet. Do this for 5 minutes. If thoughts intrude, just notice the thoughts and move on.
Coloring helps, bring a coloring book with you and draw stuff, or sketch something cool from out the window seat. Coloring and drawing are awesome ways to calm yourself.
Be more Present while you travel.
While on a trip, or a holiday, it’s easy to get distracted by thoughts of responsibility. Consider doing the following to help experience your holiday to the fullest and remove the day-today-worries.
- Avoid headphones – Take a moment to consider the new sounds that surround you, the sound of the ocean, the wind on your face. That enough Evanescence for one day, try listening to something more cheerful like the world around you.
- Eat Mindfully – Focus only on the food you attempting to eat in silence and without external distractions such as your phone, Pokémon go, or whatever app has kid’s attention these days. Forgo the phone and just enjoy that delicious condensed milk with straw berries.
- Keep notes – Creating a chronicle of your trip is a lovely way to become fully present. Keep a journal and put something in it at the end of the day before you go to sleep.
Most people will suffer with some sort of symptom of “post travel blues” when returning home. This could be a change in appetite, tiredness, an inability to settle or strong feelings of nostalgia. There are several mindful practices to help ease these symptoms
- Identify anxiety before they begin – practice meditation such as body scans as mentioned above which will allow you to pick up on symptoms of anxiety such as cringed teeth and fists, rapid breathing and more.
- Participate in movement Meditation, also known as old people kungfu, or tai chi. It will make your trip more stress free and REALLY increase your stamina. Yoga is not for everyone but Taiichi is something everyone can do no matter the age or level of flexibility.
- Mindfully reflect on your memories – Remember the manta ray you got to pet, or that awesome drink you enjoyed. Learn to become happy with your memories instead of yearning for the past.
Take vacations often! Nothing cures Post holiday blues than another holiday. As soon as you get home plan another holiday for one or two years in the future and plan to have new experiences, remember to live a little between all that work.