For many years I absolutely hated the idea of traveling on the tube.
On the rare occasion that I visited London my fear of the tube normally resulted in taking a much slower or more expensive form of transport to get where I needed to be.
But since starting a job that means I am now in London most weeks I was determined to conquer my fear of the underground once and for all.
Here are some of the tips and tricks that I have used to help me feel more relaxed on the tube.
1. Body scan on the escalators
When heading underground, use the time stood on the escalator to check in with how you are feeling physically. We often subconsciously hold a lot of anxiety in our bodies.
Start from your head and quickly scan over your body with the aim of noticing any areas of tension. Check to see if you’re holding any tension in your jaw, in your shoulders, in your tummy or in your hands. Take deep breaths and imagine releasing any tension that you find with your out breaths.
2. Plan ahead to find the quietest carriage
If the idea of being in a busy carriage gives you chills, try using an app such as City Mapper. This app will let you know which carriage is normally the quietest so you can position yourself on the platform in advance.
And if you really can’t face the tube, City Mapper also provides you with many different travel options for your journey and compares how long each method will take and how much it will cost.
3. Listen to upbeat music
I’ve found listening to really upbeat poppy music helps me to deal with my adrenaline as I am walking at super speed trying to navigate the underground tunnels. I’ve found being able to concentrate on a beat gives me something to focus on when I’m actually on the train.
4. Sense check
Traveling underground can give anxious thoughts a field day. It’s easy to run away with your thoughts about what could go wrong.
When I first started taking the tube I used to worry to the point of nearly hyperventilating, imagining all of the worst case scenarios.
Now when I catch my thoughts getting ahead of themselves I try to bring myself back to the present moment by checking in with each of my 5 senses.
I also use this exercise to check that I’m taking enough deep breaths! People often subconsciously hold their breath when they’re anxious so it’s always worth a check 😅
5. People watch
One of my favorite things about London is the diverse range of people. To pass the time I sometimes like trying to guess what people on the tube are called and what they do for a living. I try to guess which stop they might get off at…anything to help pass the time until my stop.
I find looking at how chilled (and bored!) most people are on the Tube helps me to relax too.
I hope these hints and tips help anyone who struggles with the tube, but it does go without saying that if taking the tube genuinely causes you great anxiety – don’t be a hero! Put your well-being first, always ❤️