How to manage fear of flying and flying anxiety
I used to enjoy sitting in the window seat of a plane and filming the window as the plane ascended. I love travelling and even wanted to be a travel content creator. However, I developed a fear of flying after being on a plane that experienced severe turbulence, and watching multiple movies about plane hijackings and crashes.
Every time a plane takes off, I tighten my grip on my armrests. Despite my fear of flying, I enjoy travelling and exploring new places. As a result, I began looking for ways to avoid acting like a crazy lady whenever my plane takes off. Here are some things I do to relax when flying.
Listen to a calming playlist
As a music enthusiast, I think having a playlist for everything is essential. Music is great for calming me down when I’m nervous, especially on a flight.
As such, I recommend making a Spotify playlist of all the songs you want to listen to and downloading them before you board your flight. I once forgot to download the songs on my playlist and had to go 12 hours without music to calm me down. Don’t be like me.
Music also helps to muffle plane noises which make me nervous. To relax, I usually listen to music with my eyes closed. Here’s a playlist of songs that I usually listen to on a flight.
Look at your itinerary
Looking at my itinerary helps me to distract myself from my fear of flying. This helps me focus on the fun activities I’m going to do rather than my fear of flying. It gives me a sense of control over my situation and allows me to be prepared for what comes next, reducing my anxiety.
Prepare a self-care toolkit
I bring my chou chou on long-haul flights. I understand that carrying a soft toy or pillow around the airport may be embarrassing for some of you, but if it helps you relax, why not? Because I have my buddy with me, my stress of flying gets reduced.
I will also pack a self-care toolkit with lip balm, tissues, portable charger, Panadol, headphones, mints, and my Kindle. Having these helps me to reduce any potential stressors.
Practise breathing exercises
Breathing exercises is something I always do on flights. It’s free and I can use it anywhere easily. It calms my parasympathetic nervous system and relaxes my body after periods of stress or danger when I’m on my flight.
I usually do the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Here are the steps:
- Inhale through your nose with your mouth closed while counting to four.
- Hold your breath while counting to seven.
- Exhale through your mouth while counting to eight.
- Repeat this process three more times. There should be four cycles in total.
Try to sleep as much as possible
As someone with a messed up body clock, I usually sleep between 2 and 3am. As a result, if I’m flying at midnight, I’ll take melatonin gummies to help me sleep. This allows me to get enough rest before landing so that I can start the first day of my trip with energy.
Stay away from caffeine before a flight
I love coffee, but drinking it before a flight makes me jittery and anxious. I once ordered coffee from Starbucks before a late-night flight to Sri Lanka. Halfway through the flight, I discovered it was a bad choice. I couldn’t sleep and was nervous and panicky the entire flight. As a result, I decided not to consume any caffeinated beverages prior to any flight in order to have a calm and relaxing time.
Choose your seats wisely
I used to enjoy sitting on the window seat because I could film the plane taking off for my travel vlog and gaze out the window while the plane was in the air. However, after the traumatising incident, I prefer sitting on the aisle seat because it is easier to evacuate and I won’t be able to see the situation outside the plane.
Tips to overcome your fear of flying
These suggestions have enabled me to remain calm on flights and pursue my dream of becoming a travel vlogger. I hope these tips help you reduce your flight anxiety and gradually overcome your fear of flying.
Have you managed to overcome your anxiety? Tell us your story below!