Travel and visiting new places is an exciting and often necessary part of modern life. While some people love flying, others find it an anxiety provoking experience, even if they are frequent flyers.
Humans may seem to be tempting fate by flying so often when we weren’t made to, but flying is actually very safe – even safer than driving. While we don’t have wings or any of the internal parts needed to be comfortable at high altitudes, that’s why planes are designed the way that they are.
However, the average person doesn’t really know how a plane works, and it’s complicated enough that reading about it might just lead to more confusion. Understanding how things work can make them less intimidating but learning the intricacies of flight is pretty complicated, for so many reasons that you have to attend a school specifically designed to teach you how to fly an aircraft.
Some airlines even offer Flying with Confidence courses which can be quite successful at helping people overcome their fear of flying and could be a good investment if your fear of flight is stopping you from attending business meetings etc.
So how is a regular person supposed to manage flight anxiety?
These tips can be applied to anxiety while flying, but they can also be used to manage the anxiety that comes with confronting many fears, so give them a shot either on your next flight or whenever you have to manage nervousness.
Nothing is likely to help calm you down if you’re too concentrated on the fact that you’re flying in the first place. Focusing on the cabin and the flight itself could lead to increased anxiety, as you’ll feel each and every bump that the plane manages to hit, or you might misinterpret completely routine mechanical noises.
Your mind is best left elsewhere for the beginning of the journey until things settle down and the initial setup of the plane and its positioning in the sky has finished. Be sure to plan ahead.
One effective way to distract yourself is to block out the noise. Flight attendants might ask you to put away some electronics before takeoff, but smaller ones (like phones) are usually allowed or you can ask if you’re allowed to keep your phone on in Airplane Mode just to play music, podcasts, or white noise.
Playing music will keep the sound of the plane taking off low, and flight attendants will most likely be very accommodating as long as you follow their instructions.
Even without music, earbuds can block out some noise, or if you plan ahead you could bring earplugs. Noise-canceling headphones might be a good investment for you if you’re a very frequent flier.
Take Care of Other Worries Beforehand
You already have enough on your mind with trying to control your anxiety surrounding your flight, so you don’t need other things plaguing your mind as well. In order to try to avoid thoughts of unrelated concerns when you’re dealing with flight anxiety, take care of things beforehand or have a plan to deal with them once you land.
Most of these concerns will arise when you’re traveling internationally, but some might come up when traveling domestically as well.
If you are going somewhere that will involve the customs process, have a pen handy and know information like the address of where you’re staying to make filling out the customs card on the plane easier. Make sure you have checked entry requirements for the destination you are heading to and have your visa already if one is required.
If you know you will need to go to a currency exchange or an ATM once you land, see if you can prepare ahead of time. If by chance you have a layover, can you exchange money there? Do you have time to go and get money from an ATM before your flight? Even better, take care of these worries by exchanging a some money into local currency of your destination before you leave.
Another example is health insurance while abroad. If you get hurt, then what will happen? Most countries have lower healthcare costs than the United States, but it’s always good to plan ahead, especially if you’ll be overseas for an extended period of time.
If you’re looking for some great choices for insurance, then look no further than this list.
As unexciting as it might seem, one of the most beneficial things an anxious person can do is cut back on drinks that would cause them to become more anxious, like those with caffeine or alcohol.
Even though it’s tempting to take advantage of the free drinks that are often included in your plane ticket, if it means getting a more restful and relaxing flight out of the whole ordeal, it might be best to skip caffeinated or alcoholic drinks and opt for juice or water instead.
Alcohol might appear to be a better option to calm your nerves, but it has effects that are less than ideal. Anxiety nausea might already be affecting you, so you don’t need alcohol’s additional effects causing issues for you while in the air. Alcohol can make it more difficult for your body to adjust to being in the air, which could mean more time spent feeling ill due to being airborne. Try not to tempt your body to feel more nauseous. It’s also a dehydrator – it’s just generally a good idea to skip the alcohol while flying.
Marie Miguel Biography
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.