How To Cope With Your Inflight Jitters
By Leah Freeman-Haskin
If inflight anxiety has you backing out of upcoming travel plans, you are not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 6.5 percent of the U.S. population has aviophobia (a fear of flying), and roughly 25 percent experience some sort of flying-related anxiety. Here are some tips to help ease the jitters and make you feel confident boarding your next flight.
Both pre and inflight meditation is a great way to help ease nerves and tension. If meditation is not a regular practice for you, turn to mobile apps like Headspace and Calm for guided meditations specifically designed for anxiety and even flying. If you know inflight anxiety is something that you commonly battle, it’s a good idea to get started on your meditation journey before your next flight. Like many things, meditation takes practice, and the faster you are able to sink into a state of calmness, the less anxiety you will have during your next flight.
Thank goodness for inflight entertainment. Distraction is one of the best ways to take your mind off of turbulence, feelings of claustrophobia, or any other fears that arise. nbcnews.com recommends creating a checklist of the things you want to accomplish during your flight like reading a chapter of a book, writing thank you notes, making gift wish lists, or getting work done on your computer. This way, you won’t be sitting quietly with fearful thoughts that can work you into a panic, you will have some actionable items to help distract you. Tuning into your favorite show or movie is also a great idea.
Breathing & Affirmations
I am safe. I am in good hands. I am fine. Repeat. It may sound corny, but affirmations are a proven way of retraining your brain and the negative thoughts that it creates. Affirmations along with deep breathing can quickly ease tension throughout your body and leave you feeling less anxious about flying. Try long, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth to promote overall calmness.
Know The Facts
When you’re 30,000 feet above the ground, it may not feel like flying is safer than driving your car. But knowing these types of facts about flying may help to keep your anxiety at bay. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data states that there’s a one in an 11-million chance of being involved in an airplane accident, and even then, 96 percent of passengers survive airline accidents. Educating yourself on the physics of flying, safety guidelines, and common noises heard on airplanes will also help to ease your fears.