12 Essential Tips for Nervous Flyers: Overcoming Flight Anxiety
Published 02.09.23 by

If you're one of the many people who suffer from flight anxiety, you might dread the idea of getting on a plane and traveling to your destination. You might experience symptoms such as sweating, nausea, racing heart, or even panic attacks. But don't let your fear of flying stop you from exploring the world and enjoying your life. There are some effective ways to overcome your flight anxiety and make your air travel more comfortable and enjoyable. In this blog post, we'll share with you 10 essential tips for nervous flyers that can help you cope with your fear of flying and have a smoother flight.

1. Educate yourself about flying

One of the main causes of flight anxiety is the fear of the unknown. You might worry about what could go wrong during the flight, such as turbulence, engine failure, or bad weather. However, most of these fears are based on irrational or exaggerated assumptions. Flying is actually the safest mode of transportation, and the chances of a plane crash are extremely low. Even if a plane crash happens, it very likely won't lead to any injury. To ease your mind, you can learn more about how planes work, how pilots are trained, and how flights are regulated and monitored. You can also watch videos or read articles that explain the common noises and sensations that you might experience during a flight, such as takeoff, landing, or changes in altitude. We recommend this video below, made by a real Boeing 737 pilot.

2. Choose your seat wisely

Another factor that can affect your flight anxiety is your seat location. Some people prefer to sit near the front of the plane, where they can see the cabin crew and feel more in control. Others prefer to sit near the wings, where they can feel less turbulence and noise. Some people like to sit by the window, where they can enjoy the view and distract themselves. Others like to sit by the aisle, where they can have more space and access to the bathroom. Whatever your preference is, try to book your seat in advance and choose the one that makes you feel most comfortable and relaxed.

3. Pack some entertainment and comfort items

A long flight can be boring and stressful, especially if you have nothing to do but worry about flying. To make your flight more enjoyable and distract yourself from your anxiety, pack some entertainment and comfort items in your carry-on bag. For example, you can bring a book, a magazine, a tablet, a music player, a crossword puzzle, or a coloring book. You can also bring a pillow, a blanket, a scarf, an eye mask, or earplugs to help you sleep or relax. You can also pack some snacks to keep yourself energized.

4. Practice relaxation techniques before and during the flight

One of the best ways to cope with flight anxiety is to practice relaxation techniques that can calm your body and mind. For example, you can practice deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, or visualization before and during the flight. These techniques can help you lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels, and make you feel more peaceful and relaxed. You can also use some aromatherapy products, such as lavender oil or chamomile tea, to soothe your senses and enhance your mood.

5. Listen to soothing music or podcasts

Another way to relax and distract yourself from your flight anxiety is to listen to soothing music or podcasts during the flight. Music can have a powerful effect on your emotions and mood, and listening to calming or uplifting tunes can help you feel more positive and relaxed. Podcasts can also be a great source of entertainment and information, and listening to interesting or humorous topics can help you pass the time and forget about your worries.

6. Talk to someone who understands your fear of flying

Sometimes, the best way to deal with flight anxiety is to talk to someone who understands what you're going through and can offer you support and comfort. This could be a friend, a family member, a fellow passenger, or a cabin crew member. Talking to someone who is sympathetic and reassuring can help you feel less alone and more confident in your ability to cope with your fear of flying.

7. Use positive affirmations and self-talk

Another way to cope with flight anxiety is to use positive affirmations and self-talk that can boost your confidence and optimism. Positive affirmations are statements that express your desired outcome or goal in a positive way, such as "I am safe", "I am calm", or "I enjoy flying". Self-talk is the inner dialogue that you have with yourself in your mind, such as "I can do this", "This is only temporary", or "Everything will be okay". By repeating these phrases to yourself before and during the flight, you can reprogram your subconscious mind and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

8. Challenge your negative thoughts with rational thinking

Another way to cope with flight anxiety is to challenge your negative thoughts with rational thinking that can help you see things more realistically and objectively. Negative thoughts are often based on irrational or exaggerated fears that are not supported by facts or evidence. For example, you might think that "The plane is going to crash", "I'm going to have a panic attack", or "I can't handle this". However, these thoughts are not true and only make you feel more anxious and helpless. To challenge your negative thoughts, you can ask yourself questions such as "What is the evidence for this thought?", "How likely is this to happen?", or "What is the worst that can happen?". By answering these questions, you can realize that your negative thoughts are not valid and that you have the power to cope with your fear of flying.

9. Seek professional help if your flight anxiety is severe or interferes with your life

If your flight anxiety is so severe that it prevents you from flying or affects your daily functioning, you might want to seek professional help from a therapist or a counselor who specializes in treating phobias and anxiety disorders. Professional help can provide you with more effective and personalized strategies to overcome your fear of flying, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, hypnotherapy, or medication. Professional help can also help you address the underlying causes of your flight anxiety, such as past trauma, low self-esteem, or other mental health issues.

10. Reward yourself for flying and celebrate your achievements

Finally, one of the best ways to cope with flight anxiety is to reward yourself for flying and celebrate your achievements. Flying is not an easy task for many people, and you should be proud of yourself for facing your fear and reaching your destination. You can reward yourself by treating yourself to something nice, such as a delicious meal, a relaxing massage, or a fun activity. You can also celebrate your achievements by sharing your experience with others, such as your friends, family, or social media followers. By rewarding yourself and celebrating your achievements, you can reinforce your positive feelings and motivation to fly again in the future.

11. Visit the cockpit

Visiting the cockpit before the flight might also be a great way to calm yourself down. During boarding, tell the cabin crew greeting you that you are a nervous flyer and that it calms you down if you visit the cockpit. You will meet at least one of the pilots, which can greatly help your fear through interpersonal connection. You do not have to be ashamed or worried about asking, this is more common than you might think.

12. Use Find A Flight

Find A Flight not only helps you find the cheapest flights available, but can also help you find flights which are convenient for you. For instance, there might be a direct flight you didn't know about, or one which is shorter and would allow you to minimize the time spent flying. This can greatly help calm yourself down.

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