Our first article on travel took a look at pleasure trips, vacations ("Travel and Stress 1: Happy Trails - 4 Positives"). We saw how a pleasant trip has many elements which reduce stress. Beyond that immediate effect a pleasurable trip leaves experiences and memories which in the future create more good feelings and reduce stress.
Now let’s look at the factors which introduce stress, which make travel more of a challenge.
How could such a beautiful experience cause us stress? Didn’t we just go to this little paradise to get rid of all stress?
Why could there be stress?
Because it is a major change from where we are used to be. Our instinctive brain – this is our ancient “reptilian brain” – doesn’t like change. It gets rattled each time it experiences something different from what it is used to and expects.
Let’s see what can be different:
Therefore, even if we enjoy the different sights, sounds, and smells, our instinctive brain is a little bit concerned.
How could that be? Because our brain developed tens of thousands of years ago. It didn’t change very much since then. The ancient survival components of our brain are subconscious. They have helped us survive. Because each time when there was an external change they switched us into high alert. They ask “what dangers to our survival could this new environment bring?”
This suspiciousness may have saved our lives many times in the past. This alertness can save us from trouble even now. Maybe you walked alone in a nice city but somebody follows you. You automatically walk faster and with a firmer step and clenched your briefcase or purse. Maybe it signaled the person behind you that you were in control and not an easy mark.
And yet even a low level of this suspiciousness and anxiousness dust cloud our judgment. We tend to make decisions we wouldn’t make at home in our normal environment and cope ineffectively.
What if you cope ineffectively?
This will just add more to the stress we already experience.
What if things go really wrong?
Those events are bad even at home or in a familiar environment. But in a strange place far away they can turn into a real disaster, even endanger your life. That’s where planning ahead and managing your stress become really important to your well-being and survival.
To have stress or not to have stress
In this article we talked about all the difficulties and stress which travel can bring. In our article before we looked at all the positive aspects which travel can bring to us to make us feel better and relieve stress. Considering all these potential risks and opportunities can help you minimize difficulties and create positives for your travel experience. Thinking ahead carefully, planning and being prepared will help you to get the most out of your travel be it for pleasure or business.
Wishing you many happy and successful trips! Your stress expert who favors pleasant journeys but doesn’t always get them.
Warmly, Fred George Sauer
> Travel and Stress 1: Happy Trails - 4 Positives
Fred George Sauer Founder of SciStress
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