How to Reduce Flying Anxiety When Flying
Flying can seem like one of the worst things in the world if you suffer from plane anxiety. Knowing that what you are feeling is okay and not to be more frustrated about is the first step to tackling your fear. Overcoming the fear of flying will not be an overnight job, but having the correct techniques to reduce anxiety in the present moment will guide you onto the path of being a more confident flyer. In this blog post, we will discuss actionable steps to take when experiencing anxiety whilst flying.
Understand the minute chances
Did you know that for every 16.7 million flying planes, there is only one commercial plane crash on average? Understanding the unlikelihood of anything going wrong can help mediate feelings of anxiety when they start to consume you. You are in the safest of hands. Understand that if anything puts the plane at risk, such as poor weather conditions, the flight will be cancelled to ensure your safety. Having this at the top of your head, along with the concerned thoughts, can help to reduce your anxiety slightly when you realise that flying is extremely safe.
Listen to your thoughts, then let them go
Whilst you should not let your thoughts overpower your mind, they are also not best kept in the back of your mind to harass you through the flight. Instead, let any worried or anxious thoughts through, listen, and then let them go. Not allowing your thoughts to be acknowledged will only make the anxiety grow, but also offer a rational explanation for each thought. Writing these thoughts down is especially effective to help them get out of your mind, and kept safe on a piece of writing. Understand that your anxiety is just trying to protect you from harm, but you should also let it be known that you are not going to accept the negative thoughts your brain is presenting to you.
Talk to loved ones with you
You should not have to deal with these feelings alone. If you are travelling with close family and friends, tell them how you are feeling and what is being presented in your mind. They will be able to talk you through these topics and offer valid points as to why your anxiety is making you feel this way. It is also helpful to talk about topics completely unrelated to take your mind off the rumination.
Make the flight as comfortable as possible
Things do not have to be so difficult when flying. Making yourself feel as comfortable as possible throughout the journey is also proven to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. That means bringing your favourite pillow, a warm blanket, and also wearing comfortable clothing such as a gym set. Pack exactly what will bring your comfort through the flight. There are also products available in the airport to give you a more restful journey such as a pillow and sleeping masks, so look around before hopping on your flight.
Distraction is often your best friend, especially if you are struggling to quiet the noise. Distractions may be anything from bingeing your favourite TV show on the flight to completing a whole book of word puzzles! Bring as many things to do on the flight as possible to clear your thoughts.
Maintain breathing exercises
Breathing exercises are a valuable tool to help you regulate your heart rate, and also bring your focus back to the present moment. If you have never done breathing exercises, try breathing in for 4 seconds, holding for 4, and then slowly breathing out for 6 seconds. This exercise is great for reducing anxiety and preventing any possible anxiety attacks. Focusing on your breath puts you back in control and grounds you when you might feel so stuck in the plane, as it reminds you that you’re okay, you’re present and you can take control of how you’re feeling because it is all in your head. This is one of the best ways that you can prepare.
Let the flight crew know
When you’re on the plane, you should speak to the cabin crew and just let them know about your fear. Every flight attendant is first aid trained, and within this, they are also taught how to support and help people manage anxiety they might be feeling on a flight. Often they will also introduce you to the pilot if you would like, who will explain to you a bit more about the journey, and their confidence will very likely put you at ease, as you know for them flying a plane is like going to the office for anybody else. They will also check in on you throughout the flight, and just knowing that you have someone there to support you, especially if you’re flying on your own, is really important for your peace of mind and comfort throughout the flight. Along with keeping yourself occupied, letting the cabin crew know and staying in touch throughout the flight is one of the best things you can do to put your mind at ease and to feel relaxed on your flight, which you deserve to do.
Speak to your doctor
If your fear of flying takes you to the point where you don’t go away, then you should speak to your doctor to check your health. There is quite a lot that can be done to help your fear of flying from a medical sense, such as prescribing certain medications that make you more sleepy and relaxed. Or, they could help to refer you to someone who could help in terms of therapy or processing your fear, helping to find ways to effectively manage it that are specific to you.
Overall, anxiety when travelling is common among many people. Taking the safest steps to combat these feelings, such as regulating your breathing as thoughts, and also staying comfortable on the flight will make the journey much calmer and less stressful to experience. You’re not alone in your fear and there are probably people near you on the plane who are feeling the exact same too, so remember you’re not on your own. However, once you’ve committed to the flight and you’ve moved past take off, you’ll realise that you can move past your fear and you are headed somewhere wonderful where you will make incredible memories. A few hours of flying will be so worth it for the great time you’re going to have, whether it’s with friends, family or on your own.
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