We all know just how taxing traveling can be; from missing connecting flights to looking for your passport, to hoping you have enough converted currency to make it to the end of the trip, traveling is both rewarding and seriously overwhelming at the same time.
Due to social media, content marketing, global connectivity, and the availability of imagery at our fingertips, more people are traveling than ever before today, which means more people are experiencing this stress and anxiety that is natural with something as unpredictable as travel. Constantly looking for something that can help soothe our worried minds when travels go astray, the discussion of meditation within travel has come into the light.
More than an hour-long practice that requires complete stillness and focus, meditation can be leveraged in a variety of ways, no matter where you are. Both applicable on a large and small-scale, meditation is a secret weapon every traveler is going to want to mentally bring with them on their next journey.
Multiple Use Cases for Meditation
The essence of the practice of meditation is much simpler than we all assume. Its techniques can bring a little relief to the most stressful of travel situations, and this trove of calm energy can be accessed anytime – it’s up to you to access it.
According to the most recent National Health Interview Survey, more Americans than ever before are giving meditation a try. The most recent statistics confirm that 14% of Americans proudly admit to practicing meditation, which is up from 4.1% in 2012. Given meditation’s known link to stress and anxiety reduction, travelers could certainly stand to benefit from this kind of lifestyle and travel change.
Mindful Reduction of Stress and Anxiety
Whether it’s lost luggage, turbulence, or a missed reservation at your hotel accommodation, traveling is surely filled with unpredictable moments. Meditation, at its basic level, can help everyone with the following:
- Being more present: We are all guilty of living in the past and the future, but not the present. When we travel, we are constantly living in the future, anticipating problems, changes, and setbacks that haven’t even happened yet. As a result, we put ourselves into an anxious state that ruins the entirety of the trip. With meditation, we learn to be in the “now” and ignore potential pitfalls in the future that has yet to even happen.
- Seeing ourselves from a new perspective: We all get caught up in our heads, unable to see the world with clarity. When we travel, we can get trapped in our own fears, like fear of flying or fear of small spaces. With meditation, we learn to pull ourselves out of that closet and see the world, as well as ourselves, from a new, peaceful perspective.
- Approaching life in a more positive and peaceful way: If you are someone who easily angers or is overall melancholy, meditation will teach you how to not only be more positive but also peaceful at the same time. This new demeanor will help you stay calm, cool, and collected if something goes wrong while you are traveling.
What Does This Meditative Mindset Look Like in Real Practice?
You can’t control if the plane is delayed, or if you miss a connecting flight. It is completely out of your control, and for many people, that is a stressful thought. But meditation and mindfulness allow us to accept the unknowns, and in some cases, even embrace them.
Here are a few ways in which you can leverage mindfulness right where you are, mid-travels:
- Breathing: Your body has an entirely subconscious level to it that is not part of your voluntary decisions. Remember to take a step back and tune into your breathing. If you consciously slow it down into deep, long breaths, you will feel physiological benefits that send a message to your nervous system. After a while, you will realize that you have power over your mental state and that you do not have to endure a constant feeling of anxiety.
- Practice: Practice makes perfect, which is why we recommend practicing this meditative practice before your trip. Even if it’s just for a few minutes each day, create your own meditation routine that will become second nature to you. When disaster strikes on the road, you will have an easier time adopting this mindset and remaining calm, cool, and collected.
- Relaxation: You don’t always need to consider meditation if something has gone wrong, either. While sitting on the beach or reading a book on top of a mountain, meditating will help you really feel the present. You will remember more of your trip and really take in the sights, smells, and surroundings, providing you with a deeply nourished sense of joy and appreciation for your travels.
Am I Living in the Present?
If you’re wondering if you spend enough time in the present on trips and travels, one great question to ask yourself is “is this useful?” Really think about that for a second. If you are worried about a printed out pamphlet you will need in 6-days, sit back and think about how useful that worry might be. Most of the time, it’s not a useful worry, and you will learn to just let it go.
Meditation will make you the master of your own thoughts, state of being, and present appreciation. It will provide you with the power to face obstacles while traveling, and simply wave them on, back into the universe.
So, if you have an upcoming trip, are traveling for the first time, or are a frequent traveler for work or for pleasure, consider how meditation can improve your travels. It all comes back to your mindset.