Many of us find that  traveling to conferences can be  stressful and energy draining. Travel often means delayed flights, long queues and traffic jams. And then there are your thoughts about the whole trip. This can be  the biggest stressor of all. Will I make it on time? What will they think of my presentation? What if this and what about that? And for some the anxiety about flying or socializing on conferences and meetings may be a stressor. So how can you stay calm and grounded during the week?

TimeXtender is a global company. And with that worldwide platforms comes a lot of  travel.. We’re regularly traveling to conferences,  customers, partners, networking events and  our global offices.

To help us be our very best while traveling, specifically while attending trade shows, we developed  some tips for staying calm and focus while on the road. You might find these ideas useful during your stay at Microsoft Inspire and other future events as well.

Jamie Bristow, director of the Mindfulness Initiative and a consultant to the Oxford Mindfulness Centre (OMC), addresses the benefits of using mindfulness techniques when travelling.

"One of the things people often say mindfulness helps them with is being comfortable when they are uncomfortable. Rather than being very distressed you're more able to see the best in the situation, to step out of the difficult thought patterns. Practicing mindfulness allows long queues, long-haul flights to be manageable.” - Jamie Bristow

Mental training such as mindfulness strengthens our focus, enables us to turn down outside noise and internal chatter and helps us to be more compassionate towards ourselves and others. It helps us with clarity and to prevent stress and anxiety.

Focus on your breath

The easiest and most efficient technique to stay calm and energized when traveling is awareness on your breath. The breath is always with us. Tune into your breath. Inhale to allow your lungs to fill completely, briefly pause at the top, and exhale fully, pausing before your next breath begins. Breath in  all the way down into your stomach, (and not only in your chest) as we tend to do when we are stressed, will help you feel calm, focused, grounded and collected. So breath in deep into your stomach and exhale slowly through your mouth. Find your breathing rhythm and relax.

Guided meditations

According to Buddhify app creator Rohan Gunatillake practicing meditation whilst traveling is key because "few of us have the luxury of lots of quiet and calm time for formal sitting meditation but since many of us spend so much time traveling a few minutes meditating while traveling can be just as valuable as the same amount of time in more traditional meditation." 

Luckily, meditation channels are available on many flights. For example, mindfulness expert Mark Coleman has made a guided meditation for British Airways especially for airplane travelers. It helps you gain focus, calmness and rest during your flight. And there might be one on your plane as well.

 

If you have a fear of flying, try practicing mindfulness to  help you calm down your nervous system and allay anxiety by holding your attention in the present moment. This article can inspire you on how to practice mindfulness during every stage of your travel to prevent you from feeling uneasy or anxious : In-flight mindfulness: 5 meditations to try when you’re traveling.  

Grounding

Queues in the airport,  train or bus stations  can lead to impatience and distress. Try to stand up tall, bring equal weight on both your feet and notice your feet touching the ground. Then tune in to your natural breath and notice the sensations when the air comes in and leaves your body. 

Smile

The endorphins that are released when you smile help to decrease your stress levels, aid relaxation and makes you feel happy. And smiling is contagious – think about the difference it would make in all travel situations if everybody smiled and acted compassionate towards each other.

Read the blog post: "Reasons to Pack Your Smile to Microsoft Inspire"

Attentive driving

One of the things that can really push our emotional button is traffic. You know that feeling?
While you can’t of course close your eyes while driving your car,  you can improve your mental state just by paying attention to your body and your breath. Feel your hands on the wheel and your body against the seat. Ask yourself the following questions:  Do I feel relaxed. Do I breathe deeply and calmly or do I have a shallow breath stuck in my chest? You can also try noticing the breath coming in and out of your nose. Driving is a great place to practice the mindful attitudes of acceptance and trust (all is well), by letting go, being patience, and becoming aware in the present moment (just don’t get caught up in thoughts and dramas about the other drivers).

Here's to safe and calm travels to Microsoft Inspire on July 14-18 in Las Vegas, NV.

We look forward to seeing you at booth #2310

Anne