6 Simple Things You Can Do to Relieve Fear of Flying
- Perform a pre-flight calming routine
- Practice visualizations and breathing
- Avoid your triggers
- Make a self-care carry-on
- Distract yourself thoughtfully
- Smooth out the transitions from home to terminal
Air travel heightens stress levels and provokes anxious feelings in many travelers. At least a third of all air travelers experience at least a little anxiety before or during flights. New world events and stressors from home or work amplify out-of-control feelings. Anxiousness about travel appears in a variety of ways including:
- Difficulty breathing
How do you avoid a fear of flying? No matter the cause of your apprehension about flying, or how you experience it, there are ways to address, head off, and relieve travel related stress.
Perform a pre-flight calming routineWhether they are traveling or not, people find benefits from mindfulness exercises. Controlled breathing and mindfulness put a traveler in touch with the ways they can be distracted and emotionally spun up. Don’t overlook proper hydration and nutrition; a
“hangry” traveler is not a relaxed traveler.
Practice visualizations and breathingA therapeutic focus on breathing applies to a wide range of anxieties including aerophobia. Concentrating on your breathing, using Zen or “square breathing” techniques, blocks distracting and unpleasant thoughts. Other therapy approaches lead to similar outcomes.
Avoid your triggersUnforeseen events upset the balance in an anxious person, so understanding what triggers flight anxiety goes a long way toward a stress-free trip. If airport terminal traffic triggers travel fears, then arrange for alternative transit to get you to the airport. Near-airport parking facilities ease the transition from your car to a shuttle to check-in.
Make a self-care carry-onAn extra minute of thoughtful packing makes an enormous difference if you know there are objects and actions that allow you to
self-soothe. Bring ear plugs if you are bothered by airplane noise. A soft blanket and a small pillow to help you rest can both provide a sense of domesticity. Keep your hands busy with a deck of cards or another small object.
Distract yourself thoughtfullyTherapists experienced in treating people with all kinds of anxieties, including air travel, suggest creating a way to keep your mind busy so your thoughts won’t get away from you. Create a soothing playlist on your smartphone. Don’t forget
to download it first! Some flights provide seat-back screens for movies and television shows. You can also download and play those on your smart device.