Flying for fun is an exciting adventure that gives you the perfect opportunity to rejuvenate and shake up your everyday existence. But, when you’re a nervous flyer, the thought of spending hours aloft can send chills down your spine.
The fear of flying is aviophobia and it’s pretty common. In fact, 6.5 percent of Americans fear flying, so you’re not alone. These people can experience shaky hands and legs, rapid heartbeat, nausea, dizziness and headaches. The reasons can be many, including fears of turbulence, falling or crashing.
But there are ways to placate these anxieties. Here are a few tips for calming your pre-flight nerves and helping your next trip go more smoothly.
Top 7 Tips for Beating Flight Anxiety
Are you scared of flying? Overcome your fear by following these effective tips.
1. Arrive Early
Last-minute hurry and stress can trigger panic. That’s why it’s advisable to arrive at the airport at least three hours before your departure time. To do so, pack the day before and pre-book your transportation, preferably an airport limousine. This ensures that you are picked up and dropped off without having to worry about being late. You can also check-in online to avoid long line-ups.
2) Know What to Expect
The unexpected is a common catalyst for anxiety. Doing a little reading about how your plane works and how it can continue to do so even if an engine fails. Find out what causes turbulence and that that scary sound is during take-off and landing. Knowing how safe flying is can overcome your fear. This can make you less concerned about the malfunctioning of your plane.
3) Avoid Caffeinated Beverages
For some, caffeine improves concentration and boosts energy. But high doses can stimulate anxiety or complicate an existing anxiety disorder.
So, don’t combat your fear of flying with a cappuccino. In fact, it’s best to avoid coffee and other caffeinated beverages for stress-free flying. Instead, go for non-caffeinated alternatives, like decaf green tea, unsweetened cocoa powder in low-fat milk, or hot chocolate.
4) Try to Take Non-Stop Flights
If takeoff and landing are the hardest parts of flying, say no to layovers when you can. Try to get a non-stop flight so you only have to deal with one take-off and landing.
5) Distract Yourself
Continuously thinking about flying or what triggers your anxiety can make you nervous before boarding. Find distractions. Calming music, watching a movie, reading a book, or solving crossword puzzles can all ease your flying stress.
6) Choose an Aisle Seat
Book an aisle seat when checking in online or request one when collecting your boarding pass. This is particularly important if you experience claustrophobia inside a plane. You can more easily move around the cabin (when the seatbelt sign is off) and get more space.
7) Breathe Properly
One of the most basic and effective calming techniques is proper breathing. Breathing exercises can help you relax by increasing the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, thus promoting calmness.
If flying gives you anxiety attacks, the above tactics can help you. To start with, arrive early at the airport and try to focus on what you’ll do after you land instead of what makes you worried. If your flight anxiety is severe, consult your doctor.