Affecting millions of people, fear of flying is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome for plenty of would-be travelers around the world. It comes down to a variety of reasons: some people fear that they’re not safe on the plane, while others can’t stand not being in control. Some feel claustrophobic, and others worry about having panic attacks during the flight. But whatever the reason behind your fear, it’s a shame to miss out on traveling due to anxiety about flying.
Luckily, there are several ways to deal with your fear of flying. Check out these 10 coping methods now!
10 Put Your Breathing First
When you’re feeling anxious, not just on a flight but anywhere, the best thing you can possibly do is focus on your breathing. If you get your breathing under control, you’ll prevent yourself from hyperventilating and making yourself feel even more anxious.
Luckily, you can focus on your breathing for the entire flight if you want to. The best breathing for anxiety is called belly breathing. Air is taken through the nose rather than the mouth, and you should feel your stomach expanding rather than your chest. You might want to give it a try before the flight because it definitely has a calming effect!
9 Try To Book A Seat At The Front Of The Plane
Not all airlines give you control over where you sit. But if you’re a nervous flyer, try to opt for an airline that does allow you to get in early and choose your own seats, and then try to sit at the front of the plane. This is beneficial for anxious flyers for a number of reasons, but the man one is turbulence.
The plane can be exceptionally bumpy at the back, so sticking to the front seats might be able to take the edge off your nerves because you’ll know that it will be at least a little smoother.
8 Forget The Coffee
If you’re feeling anxious on a plane, coffee is not your friend. Anything with caffeine will stimulate you and wind you up even more. The same goes for green tea and even normal black tea. Steer clear of these drinks if you want to rest on the plane or if you are feeling a little nervous already.
Instead, opt for herbal tea. Chamomile has calming effects, while peppermint is great for soothing the stomach. You can’t bring your own made tea onto a plane, but you can bring your own tea bags and then use the hot water provided.
7 Learn A Little Bit About Planes
Sometimes, a fear of flying might come from believing that you’re a moment away from plummeting to your death every time you’re on a plane. It could help to learn a little bit about planes and understand how untrue those beliefs are.
To put it in perspective for you, your chances of perishing in a car crash are one in 5,000, while your chances of perishing in a plane crash are one in 11 million, according to Curiosity. Brushing up on facts like these should help you to remain calm if your mind starts to spin.
6 Remember To Stay Calm During Turbulence
Turbulence can cause anxiety for people who are otherwise very calm flyers. There’s nothing fun about being rattled around, especially when you’re trying to sleep or relax. Even though turbulence isn’t the most comfortable experience, you don’t have to fear it because it’s not dangerous.
As Travel and Leisure points out, turbulence is caused by shifts in the wind. Birds deal with them all the time, and planes are able to withstand so much more rattling than you’d ever feel during turbulence. It may feel like you’re going to fall out of the sky, but remember that you’re not going to.
5 Bring The Right Entertainment
Sometimes the best way to deal with persistent anxious thoughts is to get your mind off them using a distraction. If your mind is given the opportunity to wander, you’re much more likely to imagine all sorts of horrible things that will make your anxiety worse. To avoid this, make sure you’re equipped with the right entertainment.
Some airlines provide entertainment, but if you’re not sure what’s going to be available, bring your own. Whether it’s a tablet loaded with movies, a book, or your favorite playlists of music, make sure you’ve got something to occupy your mind during the flight.
4 Choose The Best Seat For You
When passengers do get to choose their own seats on a plane, they’re faced with either going for the window seat, the aisle seat, or the middle seat. Get familiar with the pros and cons of each so you can sit in the best possible seat for you.
The window seat will help you to feel more isolated if you just want time to yourself, but you’ll have to cross people if you want to get up and move around. The aisle seat is the easiest to leave from, but you might feel overwhelmed by being surrounded by people.
3 Avoid Any Negative News
The worst thing you can do as a nervous flyer is keeping up to date with any negative news stories regarding planes. It’s hard to turn on the news without hearing about terrorist plots or near-crashes or planes that have gone missing completely. Do your best to avoid listening to these stories, because they’ll only make you feel worse.
Also, those stories make it to the news because they’re not commonplace. Planes take off from every airport all over the world all day long and don’t crash, but you don’t hear those stories.
2 Attend A Fear Of Flying Workshop
If your fear of flying is really severe and you don’t think you can handle a flight using standard coping techniques, you could always seek help from an outside source. Many cities host their own fear of flying workshops where you can meet with experts who will help you to overcome your fear.
You also have the option of speaking to a therapist who can use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help rid you of your fear. There are also plenty of books out there on the subject, so don’t ever feel like you’re completely alone!
1 Give Yourself Enough Time At The Airport
Anxiety is almost always worsened when you have to rush. Going about your day in a calm and orderly manner is much more conducive to a relaxed mood than speeding around like a headless chicken! So if you struggle with a fear of flying, give yourself plenty of time at the airport. The last thing you want to do is rush.
Don’t give yourself any more worries than you need to. By getting there early, you ensure that you won’t miss the plane and you know you can always buy last-minute items inside the airport if you forgot something.