Airports. Security. Delays. Layovers. Those words are common with the travel experience for many. Most people I talk to are not a fan of the jet-set lifestyle. I’m one of the strange ones – I enjoy flying. I can sit there and do absolutely nothing. No phone calls or surfing the net. No urgent matter to take care of. It has always been an invitation to practice mindfulness. I love the peace that airplane travel can (yes, can) bring.
On a recent airplane adventure, my plane was 30 minutes delayed leaving the airport. I had a very quick turnout time to catch my next flight. My mind went into “What If” mode … “What if I miss my flight – I’ll have a 10 hour wait until the next one – then I’ll miss my next connecting flight – this could be an epic disaster!” I went into stress mode - my body became tense and my breath shallow. This traveling adventure had a moment of feeling anything but peaceful.
Here’s the thing, I can’t control what happens in life BUT I’m in charge of how I respond to life. So, took some time to created peace in my body. Here’s what I did: I took full breaths into my body and inhaled to 5, paused, exhaled to 5; I listened to “Flying” by Garth Stevenson (shameless plug, his album is soothing and perfect for any yoga class). Within minutes, I was calm and relaxed. Seriously, breathing and calming music is one of the best ways to beat stress!
When we landed, my next flight was already boarding and, of course, I’m at the back of the plane. My usual response would be:
· Become extremely stressed out
· Curse others under my breath for “being in the way” (no one ever said therapists and yogi’s are calm all the time)
· Run to the gate like a mad woman
With my mindfulness practice infused in my body, I patiently waited to deplane and walked to where my next plane waited. First time that ever happened. I surprised myself at how calm I was.
Lesson of the day: slow down your breath, play soothing music. This can be your best friend the next time stress comes to visit.