Vacation season is upon us. For some folks that means serious anxiety. Whether you dread your flight for days before a trip or just get a few butterflies at the airport, this is a great exercise for working through your anxiety. From Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler by Elisha Goldstein.
Sam was a client who had a major fear of flying. I spent time on the phone with him as he arrived at the airport, went through security, and was about to get on the plane. He engaged the process mindfully and felt at ease up until the point when boarding began. Fear seized his body as he hunkered down to the airport seat white-knuckling the arms of the chair.
Elisha: What’s happening now?
Sam: I can’t do it, I can’t fly.
Elisha: Do you notice how your body feels?
Sam: Constricted in my chest, breathing rapidly.
Elisha: Put your hand on your belly, and take a few deep breaths.
Sam: Okay, that feels a little better, but I still can’t fly.
Elisha: You don’t need to fly, can you stand?
Elisha: Can you walk toward the line? Just the line, nothing else.
Sam (hesitantly): Yes, I think so.
Elisha: Great, let’s just do one thing at a time. What’s happening now?
Sam: Because I’m feeling scared, my shoulders are tight.
Elisha: As you walk, bring attention to the shoulders, roll them, and give them a mental rub.
Sam: The woman is asking for my ticket.
Elisha: Okay, just think about handing her your ticket, nothing else.
Sam: I did it!
Sam made it onto the flight that day with a powerful lesson in hand. When the mind pictures the mountain you’re about to climb, focus on one step at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be there.
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