Stress can be caused by all manner of situations and varies widely for each traveler. Below we highlight five big challenges that impact traveler wellbeing and offer advice to diffuse the stress from these scenarios from our ebook with positive psychologist Miriam Akhtar MAPP.
1. Fear of flying: It helps to create a positive visualization of the flight and practice it in the days before travel. Imagine being happy, relaxed and arriving at the destination with the greatest of ease.
Travel managers should dispute the negative thoughts about flying; a lot of the panic comes down to overestimating the chances of danger. Find out what the evidence is here; flying is the safest form of travel.
2. Anxiousness or feeling down: The mind has got a negativity bias so we tune into the negatives before we notice the positives. Naming three good things every day helps to generate positivity. Thinking about the positives helps travelers to appreciate them more.
To encourage this further, travel managers could ask travelers their thoughts on the trip, during or after. What was good about the trip, who are they grateful to and what went well?
3. Loneliness: Relationships are the single most important factor that contributes to our wellbeing. According to psychologist Ed Diener, it is the only factor that predicts happiness around the globe so it’s important to nurture relationships even when away. Read more about Diener's thoughts on this in the Global Happiness Policy Report (produced by the Global Happiness Council) here.
The positive psychology definition of love is a ‘micro-moment of warmth and connection that you share with another living being’. Travelers should set aside time for a daily dose of micro-moments. Use an app to make a video call as the main mode of sensory connection is through eye contact.
4. Feeling nervous before a pitch, presentation or event: Psychologist Amy Cuddy suggests finding a private space to do a ‘power pose’ before starting, such as putting your arms up into the victory position or hands on hips like Wonder Woman. These are the positions that powerful people adopt when they perform. The power pose boosts testosterone, the confidence hormone and reduces stress hormones.
Adrenaline will be pumping so breathe deeply before starting to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and maintain composure.
Hear more from Amy herself in this TED talk on body language.
5. Pressure to get back into normal working life: Good mental health is about balance so after the exertion of the trip, travelers should be encouraged to take time to chill and recover, using the body-mind connection.
Find more positive psychology tips for travel programmes in our ebook - download here.