Most of us suffer from flight anxiety, at least before disembarking the plane at our dream destination.
However, even then, a lot of people continue to deal with a constant fear of flying and what might happen if something goes wrong next time. I surely know I do. It’s very important to get past a situation like this, and with that in mind, here are some things you can do to prevent having a bad experience on your next flight.
Understand the workings of a plane
One of the key factors to lower that fear of flying is to understand the workings of modern aeroplanes. Modern planes come with amazing safety measures and a plethora of secondary systems and fail-safes that are in place at any given time.
For example, the plane will automatically make sure that any turbulences are handled correctly and even if an engine should fail, there’s always a secondary system in place — like that second engine. Once you understand that it’s very safe to travel via an aeroplane, the worries should go away.
Moreover, as you understand more of how planes function, all sounds and manouvers a plane does while taking off or preparing to land will make much more sense to you.
As ever, Youtube can be a great source of information. Videos like this one can dispell lots of myths and fears about flying and make the experience less frightening.
Download some apps
I am suffering from flying anxiety even to this day, after being on hundreds of (successful) flights.
When that nasty fear of flying hits you, the best thing you can do is to keep yourself busy. A good way to achieve that is to download some mobile apps or games. These are known for being time-consuming and addictive. Chances are that once you download an app you enjoy, you will end up spending a lot of time playing or using it. As a result you’ll end up paying less attention to your surroundings and that means fewer worries about flying.
If you don’t want to use your phone, then you may want to distract yourself in the old fashioned way. To that end, a book or magazine can do wonders. I for one, add noise-cancelling headphones to the mix, to be sure I am as isolated from the scary, noisy aeroplane environment as possible. Once you do that, you will focus less on your fear of flying and more on the matter at hand.
Try to keep yourself distracted and you won’t even realise when it’s time for landing.
Try to keep your fears in check
One of the best ways to achieve that is to think about your arrival at the destination. Consider the fun moments and great experiences that you will have once you touch down.
Of course, when you are just boarding the plane that might feel daunting and challenging, but thinking of the end-game will prove to be an excellent distraction and that’s what you want the most. Even if keeping your fears in check might seem like a very hard thing to do, it all comes down to replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. As long as you are positive and focus on a great outcome, nothing will stand in your way.
Breathing exercises also do wonders. Whenever I feel scared during nasty turbulence or take-off I just tighten the seat-belt — for that extra sense of being grounded — and breathe slowly and purposefully.
And since we’re on that subject…
Meditate before your flight
Calming yourself down before you board the plane does help a lot. A bit of mindfulness will give you peace of mind and will ensure your experience will be the best every time.
With flying it’s all a matter of perspective and understanding that everything is under control in the hands of trained professionals with thousand of hours of flight under their belts. After all, flying is one of the most regulated professions on the planet!
With meditation or even yoga, you will find it a lot easier to keep your fear of flying under control. You will replace the anxiety with focus and good attention to results. It will be worth it, so try to consider that and use meditation to your advantage.
Select an aisle seat
If you have a constant fear of flying, it might not be a good idea to sit right at the window. What you want to do instead is to opt for an aisle seat. This way you can be close to the aeroplane’s staff in case you feel anything is wrong. Plus, being at the aisle will definitely help if you suffer from a consistent case of claustrophobia.
Another benefit is you can always exit your seat to stand or pace for a bit. You will notice being on your own two feet gives a better sense of control and diminishes your anxiety. Just don’t try getting up when that turbulence does occur.
Make some friends before you embark in the plane
You will notice it’s a lot easier not to worry about your fear of flying when you have people to talk to.
If you travel alone it can always be a good idea to make friends with the people seated next to you. Chatting can take your mind off things. That’s why you will notice nurses always chatting you up when you go for blood tests, as they know it distracts your attention. Prattling with a friendly neighbour will keep you busy, not to mention it can provide you with the security you need.
If you are very fearful of flying, you need all the support you can get. Socializing with others might very well be the solution you need.
Try to reserve a seat above the wings
The reason you want to do that is that you won’t have to deal with turbulences or other sudden moves that might make you uncomfortable. You see because they are in the middle of the plane, these seats are the least exposed to sudden moves.
Combine that with the comforting idea of being close to the middle of the plane where most of the emergency exits are and the fact you won’t see much of the outside because of the wings themselves and you will barely have stimuli to bring that fear of flying back.
Plus, once you start connecting with people, listening to music or using some apps, you will barely notice that you’re on a plane anyways.
Get some professional help
If all of the above fails then it’s extremely important to make sure that you handle this situation with the aid of professional help. Some airlines offer support for this type of situation.
On top of that, you can also work with a psychologist beforehand, just to be safe, or attend some classes, like this one or watch some videos that might help. Just make sure that you are always working with an expert, as the last thing you want is to encounter any fear of flying issues and not know how to deal with them.
Dealing with a fear of flying is not going to be easy, but it doesn’t have to be that hard either.
It’s one of those things that constantly bring in major challenges, and you need to push the boundaries and test your limits. The most important aspect here is to always stay under control and avoid the rush of adrenalin.
Once you start focusing on something else, the fear of flying will eventually go away. Sit in the aisle region, just to be safe, and try to keep yourself busy. The more you focus on doing something else, the easier it will be for you. Just consider that and you will conquer your fear of flying a lot easier!
I do really hope these tips will help you on your next adventure so please, whatever you do, don’t stop wandering!
Photo credit: Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash