Do you get nervous at the thought of flying? If you’re the type of person who’d rather take a bus for 3 days than a flight for 2 hours, keep reading.
Whatever level of flight anxiety you experience, we totally get it. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 6.5 percent of Americans are affected by a fear of flying. There’s no need to let your flight anxiety ruin your trip!
Use these 7 tips to help you deal with your flight anxiety!
Know The Facts, Yo!
Remember that scene from Friends when Phoebe called Rachel and made up a story about something being wrong with the left phalange of the airplane? Of course, the person sitting next to Rachel overheard and soon enough, everyone on the plane was freaked out!
Obviously, there’s no phalange. So before you do anything, educate yourself. Learn a little about the airplane, how it operates and stays up in the air. Learn about turbulence and why it happens. The more facts you know, the more in control you’ll be of your flight anxiety.
Breathe Baby. Just Breathe.
Yes, we’re including breathing on the list because as cliché as it sounds, it works! When you focus on deep breaths, you’re tricking your brain into thinking it’s calm. You are slowing down your thoughts and going into a relaxed state. Once you feel even a hint of panic — stop, drop, and breathe. Just breathe.
Try: Inhale for a count of 7 and exhale for a count of 7. Repeat 5x or until you feel completely calm. This will especially come in handy in the event of turbulence. Breathing is a powerful tool that you can do anywhere. Buckle up, sit back and just breathe!
Guided meditations are the next step up from taking deep breaths. If you’re not used to meditation, guided meditations are a perfect way to start. And the best part? You can take them with you on your flight!
A lot of guided meditations are short and you can do them as often as you need. Don’t worry about meditating the right way — there is no such thing! There are several meditation apps you can download. Try Headspace for short, quick guided meditations. They even have special meditations for stress and anxiety. Have your headphones and phone ready for your next flight!
Pay attention to your thoughts. What is your mind telling you? Is it real? Is it not real? Our minds like to make up stories, especially when we don’t feel safe. It’s not exactly helpful if your mind is constantly repeating, “OMG I’M GOING TO DIE!”
Replace those negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Download the app ThinkUp and record your affirmations with your voice and listen to it on your next flight. The more you repeat these new thoughts and listen to them, the sooner you’ll start to believe them. Can’t think of your own affirmations? Try these:
I am always safe on flights.
I love to travel and see the world.
I am a confident traveler.
Flying is easy.
Avoid Caffeine & Alcohol
Alcohol can make your flight anxiety worse. While it may seem like a temporary fix, your alcohol tolerance is different at altitude compared to ground level. One glass of wine can amount to almost two. And once you land, do you really want to be too drunk to grab your bags and make it your hotel in a new destination? Anxiety and alcohol is not a good mix.
Same goes for caffeine. It can increase anxiety as a stimulant and your body can react with unnecessary jitters, especially when you feel uneasy. Too much coffee can mess with your sleep cycle and cause headaches, leaving you dehydrated on your flight. Switch to decaf or just do your body a favor and stick to water.
Chat Up The Cabin Crew
There’s no need to feel embarrassed about having a chat with the cabin crew. When you board your flight, tell someone on staff that you’re nervous. Ask them to check in with you whenever there’s turbulence, keep you updated that the flight is running smoothly, or to explain any unfamiliar noises.
The cabin crew is there to help and might even have a few suggestions on how you can deal with your flight anxiety. They can’t help you if you don’t speak up! And who doesn’t love a little extra attention!
Whether it’s talking to a professional or diving into self-help books, you have resources all around you. Sometimes the burden is too heavy to lift on our own. If your flight anxiety is really heavy and to the point that you’re avoiding flights, talk to a therapist.
If that’s not an option or you want additional resources, read a few personal development books. We recommend checking out “Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks” by Barry McDonagh and “The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage” by Mel Robbins. You can even download these on Audible and take them with you on your flight.
With all of the amazing places to visit, it’s time to learn to manage your flight anxiety. After all, there are only so many staycations and road trips that you can take. It’s time to hop an airplane and explore this beautiful world.
What’s your fave flight anxiety tip? Share with us in the comments!