I have a lot of irrational fears, one of which is flying. Even though I know planes are way safer than cars (or even walking!) I still get white knuckles on every flight. I know I’m not the only one with flight anxiety. So I’m hoping this post will help some of you deal with YOUR flight anxiety.
1) Get there early – Reduce any additional anxiety by getting to the airport early. If I’m rushing to my gate, then I’m already anxious before I’m even on the plane! Get to the aiport with plenty of time so you’ll have time to sit and relax before boarding.
2) Be prepared – Ok this tactic is a little unconventional, and my boyfriend thinks I’m absolutely crazy for this. But I like to be prepared for emergencies. So when I board the plane, the first thing I do is locate the emergency exit doors. I even touch every seat between the closest door and my seat, just in case the plane were to fill the smoke, I would be able to count the seats to find the door. I also touch the life jacket under my seat, and that makes me feel better too. And I never take any kind of sleeping aid, so I am always fully alert, in case anything happens. All of this stuff, although a little unconventional, helps me calm down.
3) If you get a choice, avoid the small planes – Anyone with flight anxiety can agree that turbulence makes our hearts drop. Well, smaller planes make turbulence feel 100x more extreme. If you have the option, choose a larger plane, and avoid the additional turbulence.
4) Have a good playlist – I got a new phone a few days before my last trip, and totally forgot that I didn’t have any music saved to it yet! I didn’t realize it until I was in my seat, and at that point it was too late. And I never realized how much music calmed me down during take off until I didn’t have it. As soon as we landed, I downloaded all my favorite playlists on Spotify. While some people prefer classical music or something calming, I prefer upbeat, happy music. I will post my flying playlist here! It’s nearly impossible to be anxious listening to this playlist. Just make sure if you’re listening to Spotify, to download the playlist before you board.
5) Deep breaths – As cliché as it sounds, it’s a cliché for a reason. It works! When I feel myself start to get worked up (usually during take-off), I start taking deep breaths. In through my nose, out through my mouth. But, I always am aware of the people around me. I don’t want to freak anyone else out, so I try to stay tactful and discreet even if I’m panicking a little on the inside.
6) Close the shades – I don’t know about you, but it especially freaks me out when the plane is tilting and all the sudden I’m very aware that the plane is almost sideways. Not only does it make me anxious, it makes me a bit motion sick. Closing the shades helps me forget that I’m 39,000 feet in the air, sometimes sideways.
7) Picture the plane landing – Whenever there is turbulence, I close my eyes, and I picture that we’re inches off the ground, and the plane is just straightening out to land. This is much easier to do when the shades are closed! It’s easier to think about a shaky plane inches off the ground, than a shaky plane thousands of miles off the ground. I’ve never been one for “visualization”, but this is one situation that I am an advocate.
Please NEVER let your flight anxiety get in the way of your travels. There is so much of the world to see, and so much of it is only accessible by plane. Next flight you take, try some of these techniques, let me know how it works out for you! Happy flying!