The airports are driving me crazy. I’m so tired of dealing with strict screenings and pushy TSA workers. I think the government has gone overboard with the body scans and inspections, and I’m really becoming intolerant of all this. How can I manage this stress?
You can move out of the United States to a country where that doesn’t care about citizens’ safety, never fly again — or, you can opt for a more realistic approach and accept the post-9/11 world in which we live while exercising some tolerance and patience.
Jokes aside, here are some tips on how you can manage the stress:
1 Change your thinking. Believe it or not, the government isn’t out to get you (unless you’re a terrorist) and their mission isn’t to irritate or drive you crazy. They’re doing their jobs, and likely you share a mutual goal: to ensure you get from point A to point B safely and efficiently.
2 Don’t let the airport define your trip. It’s simply a mode of transportation, a way to get to your destination. TSA isn’t targeting you, and they don’t dream up ways to annoy passengers; rather, they strategize ways to ensure the safest flight and the detection of undesirables. So don’t personalize their efforts.
3 Know that the TSA employees aren’t deriving pleasure from patting you or the next sweaty traveler down and rummaging through your personal belongings. Again, they’re simply doing their job.
4 Do your part to ensure a smooth transition past security. Actually do all the things we’ve been hearing for several years: Have your boarding pass and ID in hand, dress simple, don’t wear extraneous metal, lose the belt, take off shoes prior to arriving at security and know what items are and aren’t acceptable to bring on board.
5 Finally, allow extra time in your schedule and anticipate delays. Boredom breeds agitation, so bring something to entertain yourself such as a book, music or video games.
–Jonathan Alpert is a licensed psychotherapist. E-mail him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
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