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I get anxious on public transport. Help!


Everyone experiences anxiety at some point, and these feeling of unease, worry or fear are often perfectly normal. However, some people find it hard to control their worries.

When using public transport there are lots of things that you can do to help reduce your levels of anxiety. It is also helpful to understand what is making you anxious in the first place.

  • If the noise levels make you anxious, wear ear plugs.
  • Avoid using public transport during the busiest times of day. This is usually the morning and evening rush hour.
  • If the train or bus is very full you could wait for the next one, which may be less crowded.
  • You might like to carry a comforting object in your pocket that you can squeeze to relieve anxiety.
  • Sit or stand close to an exit. This in itself can help to minimise stress.
  • Plan your trip and try to be flexible. Knowing your options for different routes will help reduce your anxiety.
  • If you find the unpredictable nature of public transport, especially buses, stressful, think about a different option such as a train.

If you have panic attack whilst using public transport, get out at the next stop or find a member of staff, who will usually be wearing a uniform.

  • Often just walking a short way will get your panic under control.
  • If it doesn’t, you should call a friend or family member and ask them to pick you up.

You can try to reduce your overall anxiety levels by taking regular exercise, and cutting caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol out of your diet.

You may find it useful to carry an Autism Alert Card to help people understand that you are autistic.

FIND OUT MORE

The NAS offers lots of advice for people with autism on how to deal with anxiety.

Learn more about anxiety on the NHS website.

Disabled Travel Advice has good tips for dealing with anxiety on public transport.

For details of the NAS Autism Alert Card.