The fear of flying is a very common affliction, with studies suggesting that 25% of Americans experience some level of nervousness around flying. Even if you have been an anxious flyer all your life it does not mean that traveling will always be a traumatic experience for you. While you might never learn to love air travel, there are techniques that can be used to help you curb your flying anxieties.
Focus on Your Breathing
One of the best ways to deal with anxiety, on or off the plane, is to practice conscious breathing. Try to breathe in through your nose, for five seconds, hold your breath for five seconds, then release your breath through your mouth for a further five seconds. Breathing is one of the best ways of reducing stress, panic, and anxiety because it increases the supply of oxygen to your brain, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes calmness. Focusing on your breathing also helps to bring awareness to your body and away from your worries, which quietens the mind. If you struggle to remain focused on your breath you could try a breathing or meditation app like Breathe2Relax, Headspace, or Mayo Clinic Anxiety Coach App.
Make Your Airport Experience as Smooth as Possible
If you are an anxious flyer then you must try to make the airport experience as stress-free as possible. Try to avoid bringing any unnecessary stresses or triggers to your journey by making arrangements before you reach the airport.
Look at America’s busiest airports and take, Atlanta, for example. The congestion on the way to the airport, as well as the business of parking can make driving to such a busy airport a stressful experience. Prepare ahead of time by booking a parking space online to avoid the stress of trying to find a spot. When you book online, you don’t need to worry about Atlanta airport parking cost being surprisingly steep and you can relax with the knowledge that everything has been thought through and considered.
It is always useful to check the status of your flight before you leave to ensure that you are not going to be stuck waiting at the airport for a delayed or canceled flight. You can also check-in online, organize your documentation and your carry-on bag to make sure you go through check-in and security as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Identify Your Fear and Educate Yourself
There are many different reasons why people are anxious flyers, some people fear a plane crash, others will fear having a panic attack on the plane. Try to identify what it is that makes you so nervous about flying and educate yourself about the subject. If you worry about the safety of the plane, educating yourself can help you to rationalize your anxieties. Remember that educating yourself does not mean that you should read up every flight statistic and horror story, just enough for you to be able to remember that flying is by far the safest mode of transport.
Before you leave for the airport it is useful to consider what you are going to take with you to keep yourself distracted during the flight. You might want to download some films, music, or audiobooks, bring a novel or a game to play.
Consider the length of the flight and make sure you bring enough to keep you entertained for the duration. Remember that you will be asked to turn off your electronic devices during take-off and landing so bring something to keep you busy at these points too.