Sometimes, no matter how convincing the stats on the safety of flying are (Keep Calm and Fly On – Step 1: The Stats), a little extra help is needed to relax during the trip. A quarter of us are anxious travelers, so you shouldn’t feel alone.
While your "Aerophobia" could stem from a variety of factors that may not even be related to flying itself, give these tricks a whirl to overcome your fear of flying:
Location Location Location
When you book your flight, let the airline representative know that you're a nervous flyer. Sitting in the aisle seat close to the front of the plane will mean less turbulence and feeling of claustrophobia. It also means easier access to the crew should you start to feel queasy. If they're in the loop on how you're feeling, they will be more than happy to respond to any questions or concerns you might have throughout the flight.
You’re Still The Boss, But Leave Flying To The Pros
If it's lack of control that irks you, remind yourself that you are the one made the decision to travel and you can decide how to deal with the situation at hand. You may have no influence over the plane performance, but keep in mind the pilot is probably better at it that you would be anyway!
Think Healthy, Happy Thoughts
Whether it's the beautiful place you're traveling to, puppies, or your last amazing meal, teleporting your mind elsewhere when you start to feel anxious will help you feel better. If that's hard for you, put on a meditation podcast like one of the sessions by Elena Brower, music or an audiobook to help you get carried away. If your mind starts to race around "what if" scenarios when the seatbelt sign goes on, reroute it as quickly as you can, even if it means just counting to 500.
Don't Let You Eyes Wander
If you have claustrophobia, thinking about how little space is around you and looking at the ceiling will only make you feel more trapped. Focus on a movie, sudoku, a good book or work, and it will help you distract yourself from where you are.
Save The Java For When You're Done Traveling
Drinking caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea can increase anxiety. I'm afraid the same applies to chocolate, even though it sure makes you feel good while you're eating it!
Breathe Like You're On The Mat
In my yoga class, I learned that breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth can put you in the zone and help you decompress. If you do it slowly and deeply, just a few minutes will make a difference.
Take Legal Wellness Herbs
Check with your doctor first, but supplements like St. John's Wort and Valerian are proven to have calming effects. They are available over the counter in most countries and they don't tend to be hard on the tummy. You can also bring a bag or two of Chamomile tea in your carry on to sip on in moments of crisis.
Avoid Terrifying Flight Films
Researching news about plane accidents or watching movies about a hijacking will probably only make your nervousness worse, even though they might be great for a date when you’re on the ground!
Take Flying Lessons
While this may sound extreme, it worked wonders for me. Flying into the clouds turned into a game and turbulence became a mere drive on a rocky road. They even have special classes for people who are scared of flying like Fly Home.
Now you can get excited about where you’re headed rather than worry about the flight.