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A Recipe for Air Rage

Stashed in: Awesome, Travel!, Willpower!, Travel, @emmaseppala, Breathe., @emmaseppala, Flight, Meditation, Humanity

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Your intuitions are correct: being squeezed by the airlines does in fact make people more prone to losing their basic humanity! Advice from experts, including our friend Emma Seppala, on how to get some calm back into your travel experience: consider paying for checked bags, practice meditative breathing, and remind yourself that your fellow passengers are good people having a bad day.

Checking bags is money well spent. 

It would be easier to breathe if the seats were a little bigger. 

Still, great to see Emma Seppala quoted in this article!

The Emma Seppala passage:

In a congested plane, it’s not just other passengers from whom we feel estranged, though.

“You feel a distance from your sense of self,” said Emma Seppala, the associate director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University School of Medicine. “You lose self-awareness,” she continued, referring to one interpretation of a psychological theory known as deindividuation, “and it’s been shown to lessen rationality.”

The cabin is perhaps the most glaring environmental factor contributing to air rage, but there’s also the theater of getting to the airport and checking in: stop-and-go traffic, the obstacle course of suitcases on the curb, noise bouncing off the terminal walls, snail-like security lines, endless pings from your smartphone as work emails continue to land even as you remove your shoes and shove them into an X-ray machine.

“Evolutionarily we’re currently experiencing more stimulation than we ever have before,” Dr. Seppala said. Many people feel overtaxed and depleted, especially when traveling, and “that really impacts our self-control and willpower,” she said.

Self-control, however, is not a neat, unitary concept. It’s not as if some people have it and some people don’t.

Emma Seppala's advice:

The breathing-based meditation that was used by the researchers is known as Sudarshan Kriya Yoga, and it has also been shown to increase self-reported “optimism and well-being” in college students, and to decrease self-reported anxiety in people with general anxiety disorder. Don’t have time for meditation or yoga? Experts say to make time, because the better you are, the better your fellow travelers will be.

“Taking care of yourself,” Dr. Seppala said, “is the most unselfish thing you can do.”

Sadarshan chakra kriya is one of my favorite meditations, though buying a ticket in business or first class is also effective. :)

the app Buddhify is really terrific, they have meditations for all kinds of situations including travel, and it's all breath based...

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