Knowing how to tackle fear of flying and ease flight anxieties can be crucial for those hoping to travel.
Flying can be a nerve-wracking experience for many, however, these anxieties can be restricting and unpleasant. Therefore, knowing the best ways to tackle aviophobia and ease these anxieties can be crucial for those hoping to travel.
7 ways of easing flight anxiety
1 – Figure out your anxiety triggers: Pinpointing the reasons for your flight anxiety can be the key to reducing these feelings effectively. By doing this you can begin rationalizing your fears and assessing whether they are irrational or unnecessary. You will also be able to prepare yourself for these feelings in advance, for example – the feeling of turbulence.
2 – Practice breathing techniques: Breathing techniques can be an effective way of calming the mind and body, practice a few different techniques throughout the days leading up to the flight to help you find the one most effective for you. Box breathing (inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds etc.) and general deep breaths are a good start.
3 – Familiarize yourself with safety measures: It’s important to note that all airlines, from Lufthansa to JAL have thorough and strict safety measures to ensure the flights run as smoothly as possible. Prior to the flight, familiarize yourself with the passenger safety procedures of your airline and also listen in when the attendants are giving the pre-flight demonstration to help you feel prepared for the journey ahead.
4 – Book your seat accordingly: Some airlines give you the option of free random seat allocation or pay a little extra and be able to choose your own seats. If you know that you will need to sit with your group or have a window seat, paying few extra dollars could be a good investment. You might also prefer to be seated towards the back, so you have quick access to flight attendants and the bathroom.
5 – Be mindful of what you choose to eat and drink: Having an alcoholic beverage might seem like a good option for calming nerves, however, this can be counteractive, especially when flying as it can dehydrate you faster. It is also best to avoid caffeine if you are an anxious flyer; opt for a calming drink like chamomile or peppermint tea to help you relax, or even just water is a good choice. Have a light meal before your flight to help settle your stomach but try not to overdo it.
6 – Have a distraction: This is a good way of helping the flight pass quickly – some planes have a TV with films for you to watch which can be a good distraction for a long flight. If this isn’t the case, downloading some music or movies to your phone or tablet is also a good idea, make sure they’re downloaded so you can watch them offline.
7 – Find your comforts: Some people find visualizing a safe space a good method of relaxing. Pack some home comforts in your hand luggage, maybe a cushion or blanket that you know will help you settle. Familiar scents may also help, is there a scent that you find calms you? Either pack a small amount of this scent or an item which shares the smell – this can help ground you into that safe space.
Travel experts advise to determine first, what it is that’s causing your anxiety – is it claustrophobia, germaphobia, or accident fears? By pinpointing these triggers, you will be able to rationalize them – airlines take strict precautions to ensure flights run smoothly and safely and try to accommodate passengers with a comfortable flight. If there are certain factors you are concerned about, it can be worth contacting the airline before booking to find out which seats would be best for your needs.
Distracting yourself can also be a good way to move your mind away from the thoughts causing your anxiety – have music, movies, and books ready to keep your mind preoccupied throughout the flight. If you need home comforts then try to pack something that smells like home, perhaps a cushion or item of clothing that shares that familiar smell.
It’s important to remember that the chances of something going wrong or your flight are extremely minimal and there are extensive measures put in place to avoid something disastrous happening. If this is a big concern for you, familiarize yourself with different noises such as take-off, turbulence, luggage etc. to help ease any worries throughout the flight.