Different people have different thoughts about flying in an airplane – some may love it, others may hate it. If you identify with the latter, check out these 7 ways to ease flight anxiety.
When it comes to traveling, air travel is often your best option to get from one point to another. In fact – it can get you to your destination quickly, allowing you more time to spend doing what you want or need to do and less time spent traveling.
But, air travel is not always the easiest option for everyone, is it? Many people avoid it if at all possible, usually opting more longer, less convenient travel options. But, why? Well, anxiety over flying is very real for some people. And it can bring on many unpleasant and even crippling feelings.
Thankfully, there are things that we can do to reduce flight anxiety and be able to enjoy (or at least tolerate) air travel to bring a greater sense of ease to your adventures.
Flight Anxiety Triggers: Discovering Your Fears
It is important to know what part of air travel triggers your fear and anxiety. Generally, it is not the entire experience that causes upset, but rather one particular piece of the puzzle. For instance, is it a small, enclosed space? Is it the fear of crashing? Is it the turbulence? Is it the fear of germs?
There is often something in particular that causes fear and anxiety, rather than just general unease. Before you can help ease your flight anxiety, it is important to determine what triggers your personal feelings. Once you discover these triggers, you can implement the following 7 techniques to ease your anxiety.
1. Distract Yourself
Distractions are absolutely necessary. When you simply sit on your flight without anything to focus your attention on, you will find that you focus on the cause of your anxiety. Thoughts like these racing through your head – What was that sound? Did you feel that bump? Are we going down? I feel stuck and I can’t move – I need to get out of here!
Do you know what results from focusing on these thoughts? Exactly – an increased level of fear and anxiety.
It is so important that you have something to distract yourself while flying. This could be music, a movie, your laptop, work, a book, or a combination of these and more. By focusing your attention on something else, you are less likely to get yourself worked up.
2. Fly Private
A simple way to reduce some of your flight anxiety, depending on its trigger, is to fly a private jet. You will get a much more personal experience and will find that the accommodations are much more comfortable and luxurious than commercial airliners.
With the ability to talk to the crew, you can also advise them of your fears and anxiety. As the flight encounters certain situations, the flight crew can ease your worries by explaining to you what is happening – and that it is completely normal.
3. Be Cognizant of What Your Drink
It is common to purchase an alcoholic beverage before you get on the plane and while in the air. It is a common misconception that alcohol can help ease your nerves and relax you for the flight. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. In fact, at times, alcohol can actually exacerbate the situation.
Alcohol can also make it more difficult for your body to adjust when in the air and can cause unpleasant dehydration.
Another beverage to avoid coffee. If you get nervous while flying, there is no logic behind drinking coffee (or other highly caffeinated beverages) as they will just add to the problem. Caffeine amps you up and makes it harder for you to relax and calm your nerves.
Stick to water while traveling – your mind and your body will thank you.
4. Get Educated on the Facts of Air Travel
The more you know, the better off you are, right? For instance, when you hear the landing gear go down on a plane – you know that the pilot is simply getting your aircraft ready to land. But, what if you didn’t know it was landing gear? What if you simply heard the noise as you feel the plane descending?
This could be something that would increase your fear and anxiety, causing you a lot of discomforts.
Educate yourself on the sounds and feelings you will encounter while traveling in the air so you can let your guard down. Reminding yourself of the facts of air travel – such as the most dangerous part of it was your drive to the airport – can help calm you as well.
5. Practice Breathing Exercises
Now we know that you can’t just pull out your yoga mat and start doing some stretches and breathing while in-flight, though this may very well be an option for those traveling on a private jet. The more practical solution would be to stay seated, close your eyes, and practice some breathing techniques.
You can do your breathing exercises while in the midst of heavy anxiety. Or, you could choose to do them at any time as a means of proactive relaxation. Either way you choose, breathing exercises are a proven tool to reduce anxiety – and can be very helpful with your flight anxiety.
6. Make Your Fears Known
Finally, as mentioned above with private jet travel, making your fears known can help reduce your anxiety and fear. Those around you can help reduce your worry – and ease your fears when things get bumpy, for example.
Letting your flight attendants know about your concerns can also be beneficial. They will be more likely to reach out to you as things occur in flight – and will have a better understanding of your fearful behavior, too.
Of course, it is important to keep in mind that the flight crew on a commercial airliner has many passengers to contend with – not just you. So, you likely won’t get the same attention and care as you would when flying a private jet charter.
You Can Overcome It!
Flight anxiety is very real for those who experience it, but it doesn’t mean you need to give up air travel entirely. Take steps to discover your triggers and find solutions to what makes you so nervous. Then, do what you can do reduce the encounter with your triggers. You have many options available to you to make your air travel experience doable, at the very least.