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Mental Health Matters Journal for Psychiatrists & GP's

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Literacy is a luxury that many of us take for granted.  We depend on written communication for information, guidance, and access to heath care information That is why SADAG created SPEAKING BOOKS and revolutionized the way information is delivered to low literacy communities. It's exactly what it sounds like.a book that talks to the reader in his or her local  language, delivering critical information in an interactive, and educational way.

The customizable 16-page book, accompanied by local celebrity audio recordings, ensures that vital health and social messages can be seen, heard, read and understood..

We started with books on Teen Suicide prevention , HIV, AIDS and Depression, Understanding Mental Health and have developed over 30 titles, such as TB, Malaria, Polio, Vaccines for over 30 countries.

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Are You an Anxious Traveler?

By Christy Matta, MA

Do you grip the arm rest during take off and landing when flying, break into a cold sweat at the thought of a long car ride or avoid trips and vacations that involve any sort of travel?

I am an anxious flyer. I don’t avoid trips, but I think twice before booking one. I have all sorts of techniques to take my mind off the flight, particularly during take off and landing, which always feel like the most vulnerable parts of the flight.

I wasn’t always frightened of flying. As a child, flying was an adventure. Sudden dips that made my stomach flip were fun. But in my teens, the physics of flying simply seemed impossible. Then, as a young adult, I got a VW bug. The car was older than me, cute, fun to drive and constantly breaking down. When I learned that many of the planes in use at the time were the same age as my car, my anxiety increased. If my 20 year old car constantly broke down, why wouldn’t a plane of the same age, I wondered. Add in a flight with real mechanical difficulties that were quite scary and my anxiety stuck. For me, flying has come to represent a complete lack of control and during times of stress I have nightmares about plane crashes.

Logic, reciting to myself that “flying is safer than driving,” distraction and deep breathing all help me get on a plane. But once on, I am always anxious.

All of this is why I have looked forward to the release of Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind. In his book, Dr. Goldstein offers simple and practical mindfulness exercises specifically targeting anxiety while traveling. It includes 3 video-led mindfulness exercises to practice with in relationship to anxiety around traveling.

At this time, I have not had the opportunity to fly while using these techniques. However, I plan to practice them now and put them to use on my next trip.

To date, my top methods of dealing with the anxiety of traveling include:

  • Deep breathing,
  • Distracting myself with books, music or in-flight programs,
  • Repeating like a mantra “flying is safer than driving”
  • Pushing away fears about flying by creating a mental wall between my fears and my current thinking

Are you an anxious traveler? How do you keep your anxiety from limiting your life? What techniques or strategies do you use to get you through a flight, long car ride or other type of travel?


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