A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE once told me during a trip that “It’s not all sunsets and cocktails.” He was basically telling me, “Travel can be a real sh*t show sometimes.” And he’s right. Many of us might be lucky enough to live alternative lifestyles which allow us to leave home often, or even give up home completely, but that doesn’t mean we can’t completely freak out when we’re in a new place.
When we’re overwhelmed, the hypothalamus part of our brain — the area responsible for nervousness and endocrine systems — produces adrenaline and cortisol, two hormones that kick in that ‘fight or flight’ mechanism. These chemicals can cloud our thinking for a little bit, but when our bodies recognize that we’ve come out on the other side, our hormone levels drop and our heart rates and blood pressures go back to where they should be. This whole process can put a lot of pressure on us, which is why being stressed out usually goes along with being angry, scared or anxious. Here’s how to cope.