7 Ways to Fight Anxiety Abroad ...

When was the last time you felt panicked and needed to fight anxiety abroad? It’s a sensation that’s definitely becoming more common, with over 40 million Americans needing medical help to fight anxiety abroad, and women are much more likely to be affected than men. But when you are in a foreign country and feel that scared, anxious sensation in your stomach, what do you do? Here’s a quick guide to fighting the feeling.

1. Breathe…

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It sounds far too simple, but taking control of your breathing really does ease anxiety. It’s known as an intervention of the mind, and it involves reassuring yourself that anxiety is normal, and focusing on restoring a normal, functional breathing rate. Concentrating on your breathing will detach you from your symptoms, and help you to fight through the anxiety. It breaks the panic cycle and slows the heart to make you feel better. So as soon as you get that feeling, try to engage your breathing. It’s the single most effective way to fight anxiety abroad.

2. Establish a Safe Zone…

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Is there somewhere you can go that makes you feel safe and happy? Having a safe zone is very beneficial when fighting anxiety. It could be a local group, a coffee shop you are familiar with, the tourist information center, or even a Skype group with your friends and family. Make sure you’ve got somewhere, and you’ll feel much better.

3. Visualize…

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Anxiety can be caused by a whole variety of different things, from everyday events to traumatic experiences such as plane crashes or wars. The best visualization technique works on whatever causes your anxiety – and it’s known as the butterfly effect. When you feel your worries start, imagine that they are in the air, like a butterfly. Don’t grip onto them, and watch them fly past. If you need a further distraction, imagine them as individual butterflies. Acknowledging the worries but not letting them take hold is key, and the nature link works well. It might sound crazy, but it really works.

4. Positive Thinking…

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This is another one I’d never have believed…it sounds far too much like it won’t really work. It’s ideal for situations where something has gone wrong, and you are worrying about having to do it again. The first time I used it was at a supermarket…I’d filled a basket with products, after desperately trying to read the writing, and lined up behind other people with baskets. When the lady serving got to me, she said something, but I didn’t understand. I said nothing, and she repeated herself louder. I tried to say I didn’t understand, but got all messed up, and she shouted. I burst into tears. She’d been trying to tell me that the till was 15 items or less, so we’d need to split the transaction, but I was so worried I couldn’t shop again. A week later, I was petrified of needing to go back, and getting it wrong again. Your subconscious believes what you tell it. So if you tell it you can’t go shopping again, you don’t understand, you can’t do this, it will believe you and behave in that way. If you tell yourself you can do it, you will do it, it’s easy, you’ve done it before – you’ll do it! Honestly. You’ll feel the anxiety just melt away.

5. Get Herbal…

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Really feeling the stress? Being abroad is so very different to what we are used to, and it can be tough to shake the feeling of worry or stress. This is where complementary therapies can be hugely helpful. Whether it’s half an hour to do yoga or meditate, aromatherapy, a massage, Bach remedies, hypnotherapy, scented candles…anything that works for you. I carry Bach drops and rescue lozenges in my handbag, just in case, and have always found the scents of vanilla and cinnamon relaxing. Give yourself a chance to relax, and you’ll find you are much more able to deal with the cause of your anxiety and worry.

6. Talk to Friends…

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Really worried about something? Call a friend. Skype can be a cheaper alternative if you are worried about the costs of calling from abroad. A familiar voice will help calm you, and you’ll probably find that explaining what made you anxious will help you to process it. I called my partner after the supermarket experience, crying my eyes out. He found it hilarious. He simply couldn’t understand why I was so upset, or why I couldn’t remember how to speak the language. His response helped me to put it in perspective, and made me feel less alone.

7. Get Help…

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If the anxiety isn’t fading, or if you think you may have a panic attack, try seeking medical attention. Go to a doctor or hospital, and ask for a translator if there is one, so that you can be sure of what the doctor is telling you. Then explain how you feel. You might get medications – but be aware that different countries treat conditions differently, so it may not be what you expect.

Fighting anxiety abroad can be tough, but once you’ve got a few coping mechanisms under your belt, travelling is much easier. Most of these techniques require only memorizing what to do, or carrying a rescue remedy around with you – and it’s well worth it to know you can travel the world and leave anxiety behind! Do you have a tip for fighting anxiety abroad? I’d love to hear it!

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