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The Optimal Travel State

Posted Dec 12 2008 10:52am

So, your bags are packed and you've got all your liquids in their small plastic containers for carry on. It's five in the morning and you're headed for the airport. That glorious trip that you have been planning is finally in sight. But you arrive at that airport and it's hell! There is a morass of people. Line-ups all over the place. You start to feel tense, perhaps a headache is coming on -- now your bags are overweight, somebody stepped on your foot and your kids are cranky. Somehow that great vacation that you had in sight is quickly losing its allure.

But wait. Help is on the way! I call it an Optimal Travel State or OTS for short. It's a state of relaxed alertness helpful for negotiating today's tough travel environment. Would you be interested in learning how to get into an OTS? It's easy, you can do it. Read through the instructions below once and then do the exercise at least 3 times before you go on your trip.

1. Sit in a chair, preferably one that's upright, with your her feet placed firmly on the ground. Pick a spot just slightly above your natural straight gaze on the wall in front of you. You don't have to look at anything specific -- it could be a part of a picture, a mark on the wall, or any other object -- just whatever your eyes happen to land on when you look straight ahead and slightly upwards. Focus right in on this spot noticing all the aspects of it like colour, texture, size, shape, boundaries etc. Let yourself blink naturally.
2. Now, as you continue to look straight ahead at this spot...keeping your eyes in the same position...notice that you can expand your vision outwards to the sides of the room. In the beginning you can see the front corners of the room as you continue to look straight ahead. As you do this, the first change you will notice is likely to be a sense of relaxation around your eyes. As your eyes soften, you will probably begin to notice that your breathing becomes easier, and that you can feel your jaw relax. Perhaps your shoulders become less tense and drop down. Perhaps your tongue even relaxes inside your mouth.
3. As you do this, notice that you can expand your vision even further outwards while still looking straight ahead, so that gradually you begin to see perhaps, the back corners of the room. Slowly, pretend you can expand your vision all around you, so that even though you cannot really see behind you, you can have a sense of what is there. Notice how you feel more relaxed doing this and yet alert to what's in front of you.
4. Now, as this relaxed and aware reaches its peak, take the index finger and thumb of one of your hands and press them together so that you can just feel a definite pressure. This signal is to train your brain remember this relaxed yet alert feeling.

So, you might say, that's all very well, but I'm not always sitting down when I'm travelling! True. So now stand up and do the same exercise. This time I want you to feel your feet firmly planted on the ground, about shoulder width apart. Just be aware of your shoes pressing down, and the floor pressing up in return. Then do the rest of the exercise from 1-4 as above. This time, when you reached that OTS, and you have signalled that you have arrived at that state by pressing your thumb and index finger together, I want you to begin walking slowly around the room. Keep your gaze in front of you, and notice that you can move around the room and sense more than what is in front of your eyes. If you want to practice this in real time before you go to the airport, you could go to the mall or some other crowded place and do it there. This technique works for any place that is large with a lot of people. What you will find is that when you are in this OTS, you will be able to find space automatically between other people, so that you can slide into that space and get to where you want to go quickly and easily. That might be to the check-in counter, the next terminal, or the next restaurant.

This state of relaxed alertness -- the Optimal Travel State -- is also called peripheral vision. It is a neurological state that martial arts people use when they want to be very aware yet relaxed and ready to take action if necessary. It may take you a few tries before you become automatic and natural at it. When you do, you will find that traveling in crowded places becomes more of a pleasure and a lot easier. You will notice that people don't bother you as much; kind of like you are in your own bubble. At the same time you can enjoy looking forward to your destination with renewed excitement.

Would you like to have me lead you into this state with my voice? Then download an mp3 file where I talk you through this into the Optimal Travel State? Click here: Download Optimal Travel State Audio

These and other health tips are brought to you by Accessing Resources for Empowerment TM. For further information regarding all aspects of health, including CDs for insomnia, fear of flying and self-hypnosis subscribe to our free monthly health tips newsletter at www.arfe.ca

© Edward Leyton MD 2008
©Accessing Resources for Empowerment TM 2008

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