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How To Deal With Flight Anxiety

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Whether its with meditation or meditative movement techniques like Qigong, yoga, or other techniques that relax you, give yourself a break during the day to simply be. Research shows that activities that promote syncing movement with breath can be incredibly helpful in reducing low mood and anxiousness.

Strike Up A Conversation:

Whether you’re traveling with friends, family or flying solo, a great way to reduce your stress levels is to talk with the people seated around you. If you’re particularly nervous about airplane safety, it may be helpful to introduce yourself to the flight attendants and share your concerns. Most airline professionals are happy to talk through your worries and have plenty of experience reassuring passengers that they are in safe hands.

Diaphragmic Breathing For Flight Anxiety

The second breathing technique Bell recommends for fearful flyers is diaphragmic breathing, also known as belly breathing. I would recommend getting familiar with it so when you need it in an anxiety-inducing situation, it wont be alien to you. For example, if you feel nervous before a flight, you can naturally tap into the technique as it will be second nature to you.

Practicing this breathing exercise will automatically start to calm your nervous system. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which helps reduce the heart rate, lower the blood pressure and calm the mind. It also produces the chemical nitric oxide in the tiny hairs in the nostrils, which helps widen the blood vessels and improve the bodys oxygen intake.

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Book Flights Which Depart In The Morning

This is one of my favourite airport anxiety tips because its so simple, and it benefits your trip in two different, yet entirely awesome, ways!

Firstly, and most importantly, its going to make your time at the airport a heck of a lot easier. Feel free here to open another tab, and whack the name of your most-used airport into . See that Popular Times column over there on the right? Youll likely find that the mornings are quieter than midday onward things will often start picking up about 7 or 8am, with 9am-12pm being as busy as it gets.

So, aim to get the really early flights if possible. If youre there any time before 9am, then youre going to have a quieter airport with less of those overwhelming crowds it really does make your life a lot easier, and lessens that urge to start using your suitcase as a battering ram. Although it is kinda fun watching people bounce off your improvised battle-case, lets face it.

Plus, an early start means that you have less chance of delays, and get more time in your destination, which is as perfect an outcome as you could hope for! Its definitely my preferred way to start a trip.

Ways To Cope With Flight Anxiety

How to Deal With Fear of Flying
  • Cope ahead: Coping ahead is a DBT strategy that allows you to practice coping effectively with an anticipated difficult situation, such as experiencing flight anxiety. Spend some time ahead of the flight to describe the feared situation in honest detail- be specific, what is it you fear happening? Use your calm mind to develop a plan for how you will cope with the emotions, sensations, thoughts and urges that will likely show up as a result of the flight anxiety. Next, envision the situation in your mind and imagine yourself successfully utilizing your coping strategy to navigate your feared situation. What will you do? How will it feel to do it? Finally, practice relaxation techniques following rehearsing the scenario in your mind.
  • Get comfortable: if the circumstances allow, wear comfortable clothing and dress in layers to prevent feeling restricted and adjust to temperature changes accordingly. Creature comforts from home, within reason and per airline regulations, can act as physical grounding tools. Think of comforting objects you can bring that appeal to all of the 5 senses. Pillows, blankets, fuzzy socks, essential oil blends, moisturizing hand lotion, gum or mints, noise canceling headphones, or an eye mask are some examples. Get creative!
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    What Are The Symptoms Of Aerophobia

    If you have aerophobia, you might avoid flying at all costs. This could mean missing family vacations or refusing to travel for work. You might insist on other modes of transportation, such as cars, buses or trains even if theyre less convenient than flying. If you have aerophobia, you might also avoid movies, books or news stories that relate to air travel. Or you may become obsessed with learning about security measures at airports and on planes.

    Its also possible for people with aerophobia to have panic attacks before or during a flight. Symptoms may include:

    • Upset stomach or indigestion .

    Trigger The Relaxation Response

    You need to learn how to switch off your fight-or-flight response using breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation. To me this is the most important starting block for overcoming your stress response. I have written a separate blog post about this, with the specific steps for each as breathing exercises are a real skill that need practice .

    Remember, during the stress response it is very hard for you to just snap out of it. Your brain has had thousands of years to develop its own effective way to keep you safe, it is not just going to allow you to overcome this system. This means you need to practice switching off the response when calm, over and over so that it becomes second nature and possible to effectively use when stressed.

    If you have your own breathing exercises and relaxation techniques try to use them for 1015 minutes twice per day for the best outcome. Practice when calm. Then use when the stress response pops up.

    If these exercises do not work for you immediately, do not worry. Read this blog post:.

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    Fast Facts On Aviophobia

    Here are some key points about the fear of flying. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

    • Flying is, in fact, one of the safest ways to travel.
    • Fear of flying can, sometimes, be due to other related phobias.
    • Treatment options include cognitive behavior therapy .
    • There are ways to plan a trip that can help minimize the impact of aviophobia.

    Share With Others Spend Time With Friends And Most Importantly Laugh

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    Being with friends, sharing what you are experiencing and laughing all increase endorphins. It makes us feel nurtured and shows to our brain that we are not in danger.

    Most people experience similar fears and worries. If you tell your friends about what is making you panic, I would bet that they not only understand but are also able to share their own experiences.

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    How Do You Deal With Pre

    Airport anxiety can be dealt with in two stages. The most important stage is at the airport itself and were going to get to that in just a moment, and kick its butt whilst were there. But did you know that theres actually ways that you can help your airport anxiety, and give yourself a much more relaxed vacation, before you even leave home? Even better, theres something you can do before you even book your trip.

    Yup, were talking some serious anti-airport anxiety strategies here! Lets take a look at them!

    What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

    You may want to ask your healthcare provider:

    • Can medication help me get through a flight without panicking?
    • Do I need psychotherapy and for how long?
    • How can I find support for aerophobia?
    • Will I ever get over my fear of flying?

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Aerophobia is an extreme fear of flying. People with aerophobia might feel intense anxiety before or during a flight. This condition can interfere with your ability to travel for work or pleasure. If aerophobia is affecting your quality of life, talk to your healthcare provider. With psychotherapy, most people can conquer their fear of flying.

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    Find A Distraction That Works

    Some people can get lost in a good movie or podcast, which could distract them from the fact that they’re flying, but it’s not that simple for everyone. “One trick I’ve learned is to focus on the opposite side of my brain,” says travel blogger Nicole Ratner. “So, for instance, I am left-handed, and when any turbulence begins, I will take out a piece of paper and use my opposite hand to write my name over and over again. It helps keep my brain sharp and focused on what’s in front of me to distract me from the fear.”

    Why Is It So Frightening

    How To Deal With Flight Anxiety This Holiday Season, According To Experts

    The reasons behind flight anxiety are obvious: we sit in a metal âpipeâ ten kilometers above the ground, and our thoughts fly far away. Those who suffer from flight anxiety worry about a wide range of scenarios: a sudden crash, technical malfunction, human error, a terrorist attack… the human imagination knows no limits when it comes to fears in general and flight anxiety in particular.

    One of the main causes of this fear is the fact that we have trouble understanding how the aircraft remains in the air and doesn’t suddenly fall. The transparent air doesn’t seem reliable enough to support an aircraft weighing tens or hundreds of tons.

    The âair pocketâ phenomenon scares not only those who suffer from flight anxiety but also many others. The combination of unexpected turbulence, a lack of knowledge about the intensity of the vortices, and a lack of additional data cause many to fear the aircraft might fall into that imaginary air pocket, turn over, or break apart.

    For those afraid of flying, all these fears are realistic, and they imagine the aircraft facing each scenario.â For many, flight anxiety is driven by other fears, the most prominent of which is a fear of enclosed spaces , a fear of heights, or a fear of lack of control resulting from being stuck in an enclosed aircraft.

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    Utilize A Meditation App

    If you prefer guided meditation or visualization, you can utilize a meditation app like Calm to reduce anxiety on your flight.

    Calm offers several offline options for download. Take some time before your flight to download a few sessions before your flight so you can access them when you feel anxious on the flight.

    Causes Of Travel Anxiety

    Travel anxiety is unlikely to have any single specific cause. Many people have travel anxiety their entire lives. Others may develop the anxiety either because of past experiences relating to travel which were anxiety provoking and some seem to have travel anxiety for no apparent reason at all. Here are some examples of experiences that can lead to travel anxiety:

    But this is just a simplified list. You may not even know the exact reasons why your travel anxiety developed. It is possible – and important – to understand what your specific worries are , but it isn’t always possible to know why you have those worries. Travel anxiety affects many people and it can have a disruptive influence on your life.

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    Practice Meditation And Deep Breathing

    I personally have dealt with anxiety since my teenage years, said Doménica Jiménez, an Ecuador-based flight attendant with Eastern Airlines. A tip that helps me now in my career in the skies is slow breathing. Being mindful of my breathing by slowing inhaling and exhaling has been a game changer. It helps me to stay calm during turbulence and also do my job.

    The meditation company Headspace has partnered with a number of air carriers, include JetBlue Airways and United Airlines, to provide in-flight guided relaxation. Nottingham noted that Delta now offers meditation classes led by Peloton instructors as part of its entertainment options.

    Meditate or take a deep breath to help slow your breathing, she advised, adding that short meditations can help passengers feel more mindful and comfortable during a flight.

    Seek Support On The Plane

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    Let your fellow travelers know that you feel nervous about flying. Sometimes just opening up about your fears can calm your nerves and make you feel less worried about how others will react if you do have a panic attack.

    You may also want to let flight attendants know about your concerns. Pilots and flight attendants understand that many people fear flying and often strive to provide a great experience.

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    Consider An Aisle Seat To Help With Your Fear Of Flying

    When it comes to getting on a plane, it matters where you sit. Having more space to move around and to get up and walk around when needed could make all the difference in helping you feel at ease.

    If youre plagued by claustrophobia, make sure you pick an aisle seat before flying, says Lloyd. Choosing an air carrier that allows you to pick your seat assignment beforehand can help you feel less boxed-in. This allows you the extra room on one side and permits you to get up and walk about the cabin as needed.

    What Helps Airport Anxiety

    So youve done the pre-travel work, and youre heading off to the airport argh, right? Nope! You can relax! If youve been able to follow the two steps above, then youve already made great leaps to cutting down your airport anxiety! But dont worry if you werent able to do them, because were now going to tackle the things that increase your anxiety when youre actually there. Relax your shoulders, and breathe deeply and freely: weve got this completely in hand!

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    Transform Anxiety Into Excitement

    Now, this is easier said than done, but to our body, fear and excitement feel very similar. It can help to focus on the purpose of your trip – what awaits you when you touch down? If youre going on holiday, focus on the new experiences youre going to have. If youre travelling to see a loved one, think about how great itll be to see them in person.

    Use this as a focus when anxiety comes up and remind yourself that you have done scary things before and survived. You can do it again.

    While we hope these tips can help, its worth noting that for those who are clinically vulnerable, it isnt just about easing anxiety . Its about doing what feels possible and reasonable to you in terms of travel, and for more allies to advocate for the vulnerable.

    If you’re ready to try hypnotherapy, you can find a hypnotherapist on Hypnotherapy Directory.

    Remember Professionals Are In Control

    How to deal with flight anxiety

    I have encountered passengers whose responses to turbulence ranged from mild to severe anxiety during my career, Armstrong said. My ideal technique is reassurance. Passengers want to know that they are safe.

    Whenever she feels anxious at work, Armstrong reminds herself that she is equipped with the skills and knowledge to remedy difficult situations and is responsible for the safety of all passengers. This understanding that trained professionals like Armstrong are in control can help ease passenger anxiety as well.

    During a flight when I experienced passengers with high anxiety, which impaired their ability to co-operate with our procedures, I announced, Ladies and gentlemen, remain calm. The flight attendants have the situation under control, she recalled. Immediately, the passengers were calm and cooperative.

    Jiménez said she reminds anxious passengers that aircraft are one of the safest modes of transportation and that pilots and flights attendants are highly trained professionals.

    While flying through the sky can be daunting, the aircraft is designed to keep us safe and the entire staff on board is trained to keep you safe and comfortable, she noted.

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    Start Small To Overcome Your Fear Of Flying

    Generally, the more you do something, the easier it becomes. Starting small will help you to ease into flying without feeling too overwhelmed or jumping in too quickly. I used to avoid flying at all costs until I was offered a job in Los Angeles, 3,000 miles away from my family, says Jenn Lloyd, founder of Sick Girl Travels. I soon found myself confronted with facing my fears or not seeing my family.

    Lloyds tip? Take small steps to ensure youre ready to fly. Dont wait until you have to fly internationally for your sisters destination wedding to tackle your fears. Start by taking short trips where youre only in the air for an hour or so. It will help you become accustomed to flying, and youll know what to expect.

    Read Up On Statistics

    Its true that youre more likely to be involved in an automobile accident than a plane crash. But that fact alone might not be enough to comfort you. For this reason, Sherman recommends reviewing some facts about flying beforehand. This way, when anxiety arises, you can talk yourself down with logic and information. For example, you can remind yourself that flying is one of the safest forms of transportation and recognize that turbulence is a normal part of flying and familiarize yourself with different types of airplane noises that are also normal, she says. You can also remind yourself that you cant control the plane, ultimately. All you can do is control your response to flying.

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