There’s no doubt COVID-19 has vastly changed the way we live, work, engage, and view the world. Most of us don’t love too much change in our lives at once, yet we’ve certainly had to deal with an extraordinary amount of it over the last year and a half. This, of course, all adds up to one obvious and unavoidable result: stress.
You’ve seen the headlines of airline passengers going rouge and about angry travelers. It’s not just random media click-bait. According to FAA, the incidents of mid-air mishaps have absolutely increased to 693 incidents in 2021 alone.
Why is there a rise in angry travelers?
In a recent survey of Way.com users completed in August 2021, 63.4% of California drivers admitted to experiencing road rage. Anxiety while driving was another issue for more than 50% of those behind the wheel.
We asked licensed psychologist Dr. Seth Meyers for his take on the rise in stressed-out behavior, and how everyone can cope with the uncertain environment we find ourselves facing all over the country.
“Emerging from the worst of the pandemic, many people have taken their pent-up energy and channeled it into travel.” Dr. Meyers said. “Some travel was for leisure and to act out their sense of adventure, while some travel was sought to allow reunions with friends and family members far away who hadn’t been seen for months or even years. The problem with such pent-up energy is that the intensity of need sometimes leads to frustration or even anger. When people experience the chaos and closed spaces that are often part and parcel of travel, they can find themselves in arguments and explosive situations with little provocation.”
How to manage the stress of travelers?
He did have a few thoughts about how to manage the situation a bit better. “To manage the stress and frustration that comes with travel, make sure you get a healthy dose of exercise before going into that situation. Try calming yourself down with meditation or a nature walk. Expend energy through high-intensity cardio exercise if that’s what works better for you. The use of headphones while traveling can be especially comforting and helpful, providing distraction with a podcast that absorbs your mental energy or relaxing music that soothes your nerves.”
And even though we are still in the middle of something none of us have been through before, it’s important to remember that we will get through it, and it will pass.
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