There’s something about soaring 35,000 feet above the earth’s surface in a 90,000-pound tube that can evoke fear in us – especially if you’re not familiar with flight mechanics or aerodynamics.
Fear of flying is completely normal and more common than you think. In fact, the fear of flying – also known as aerophobia or bacteriophobia (aviophobia) – affects a large percentage of the population. While there’s no quick and easy way to get over your fear of flying, there are a few practices and essentials that will make your flying experience much less anxiety-provoking.
From understanding your specific triggers to equipping the right anti-anxiety treatment continue gear, here’s what you’ll want to do before boarding your next flight.
The reasons for your fear of flying vary from person to person, and in the end, it all depends on knowing what’s causing your fear – and what you can do about it. Bayram Annakov, founder and CEO of Applications in the air.
“First, understand the root cause of your fear and study it. Knowing your cause always helps reduce your fear of public speaking; Knowing the cause of your fear will also help you overcome it. Once you’ve identified why you’re afraid of flying, you can consider what steps you can take to put it into action.
In general, the more you do something, the easier it becomes. Starting small will make it easier to fly without feeling too overwhelmed or jumping in too quickly. Jenn Lloyd, founder of Sick girl traveling. “I soon realized I had to face my fears or not see my family.”
Lloyd’s tip? Take small steps to make sure you’re ready to fly. “Don’t wait until you have to fly internationally to your sister’s wedding to deal with your fear. Start by taking short trips where you are only in the air for an hour or so. It’ll get you used to flying, and you’ll know what to do.”
Aviation enthusiasts, affectionately known as “AvGeeks” are passion for the plane of all things. There are even communities dedicated to the art of flying and plane-watching at airports around the world. By educating yourself about the science of flight so you don’t have to worry too much about things bumping in flight, you’re giving yourself an advantage over your fears.
“Chaos is my biggest cause,” says Lloyd. “But when I started reading about how planes fly and how they are designed to handle turbulence, I found it easier to manage my anxiety. The Psychology Guide there is an excellent section on how airplanes work. ”
“Talk to an expert – no, not a psychologist (although that can also help), but an aviation expert,” suggests Lloyd. “From safety checks, taxis and take-offs, to landing, hearing about what’s going on outside the main cabin helps you feel less at the mercy of complete strangers.”
If you have someone in your life who is a pilot or a flight attendant, you can sit down with them and listen to their experience. But talking to the crew on your flight can also be informative. Airline crews have seen most of their nervous flyers and have the tools and knowledge to help you feel comfortable.
When you get on a plane, it’s important where you sit. Having more space to move around and getting up and walking around when needed can make all the difference in helping you feel comfortable.
“If you are plagued by claustrophobia, make sure you choose an aisle seat before you fly,” says Lloyd. “Choosing an airline that allows you to choose your seat in advance can help you feel less cramped. This gives you more room on one side and allows you to get up and walk around in the cabin as needed. ”
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Not all flying experiences involve cramming into an economy class cabin, shoulder to shoulder with other travelers. In fact, at the front of the plane you’ll often find business and first class cabins with flat seats and more space to stretch out and relax. If nothing else, there’s a bed to help Sleep better on the plane will help you forget you are in the air.
Lloyd says: “Nothing calms my nerves more than being treated to the luxury of first class. “Of course, this is extremely expensive for most of us. Enter the airline’s mileage. The first time I flew from Los Angeles to South Africa, I cashed my miles and rewarded myself with a reclining massage chair in first class. See flying as an opportunity to pamper yourself and relax, treating it as a completely different experience than being confined to a cramped row of seats in the economic zone for 16 hours.”
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“Caffeine, alcohol and foods high in sodium can make your heart pound and cause anxiety,” says Lloyd. If you’re a cruise nerd, you’ll want to avoid all of these before and during your flight.
You’ll also want to be mindful of what you watch on board. “Watching sports, action movies or horror movies can make your heart skip a beat,” says Lloyd. “Instead, consider comedies or relaxing music. You want to keep your mind and body as relaxed as possible and not so wrapped up that you feel panic creep in. ”
Sometimes, it’s all about where you’re going. Whether it’s a Overwater villas in the Maldives or a ski chalet in the Rockies, in many cases you’re looking forward to reaching your final destination. And it’s a great way to focus your attention.
“Focus on the destination, not the journey,” suggests Lloyd. “When you feel negative thoughts creeping in, think about how wonderful it would feel to be on the ground enjoying that hard earned vacation.”
It sounds cheesy, but learning the insights of flying from the ground up can be your ticket to overcoming your fear of flying once and for all. “Getting out of your comfort zone to fly with an expert will make you realize there is no mystery and you will understand how airplanes really work,” Annakov says.
While learning to fly can be quite expensive, even starting with a few lessons can help you overcome your fears.
Not only should you be aware of your mindset and the steps you can take to overcome your fear of flying, but when you step into your next flight, fully equipped for that flight. Flight can help you with this trick. From calming scents to essential reading material, here’s what you should prepare for your next flight if you’re still working to overcome your fear of flying.
The NodPod Sleep Mask is the must-have solution to travel anxiety and fear of flying. Gentle pressure provides a feeling of comfort and relaxation that will help you adjust the cabin around you and sleep soundly during the flight. Note that the adjustable elastic works in any position, so it will stay nice and snug even when you’re sleeping flat. You can find more of our best sleeping masks of 2022 this.
From traditional meditation sessions to relaxing recordings, the Headspace app has become the go-to app for many. Members have access to hundreds of different recordings to best suit their preferences and needs, and all tracks are downloadable and easy to stream.
Aromatherapy may seem like the wrong approach at first glance, but there are many Research backed by science to back up the values of essential oils, especially for stress and anxiety. Lavender essential oil is one of the best choices for fostering feelings of calm and relaxation – but you’ll want to make sure you choose a small rolling pin for ease of use. This 10ml vial is small enough to go through security without a problem while the roll-on application allows you to quickly apply to your temple or chest area from the comfort of your seat.
Captain Tom Bunn founded the Soar approach over 40 years ago and it continues to be one of the most effective self-help techniques for anxious flyers. Its great success is mainly due to the Soar method which focuses on how to induce anxiety, fear and panic in flight and how to permanently control the release of excessive stress hormones. The comprehensive program has helped over 10,000 anxious passengers overcome their fears and enjoy travel.
Smart travelers know the importance of a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones. This highest rating Sony headphones make it easy to tune into the world around you and focus on your favorite movies, podcasts or meditation. The soft over-ear headphones are comfortable enough to wear during a flight, while the long-lasting 35-hour battery ensures you’re never short of water. In fact, this series has earned the title of The best noise-cancelling headphones overall in our testing.
Weighted blanket We scientifically proven to help ease symptoms of anxiety and promote a better night’s sleep – and indeed, there’s something inherently soothing about a blanket like a hug! The Barmy Weighted Lap Blanket is an especially good choice to bring on your next flight because it’s small enough to pack into carry a bag but will still provide the same comfort benefits as a full-sized throw.
We know, the genie toy market is oversaturated at the moment, but there’s a reason stress relievers are still in demand – they actually work. This doctor-developed genius cube is super discrete and can easily fit in the palm of your hand when you’re feeling particularly nervous in the air. The monochrome cube also comes with its own carrying case for added convenience.
If you prefer the comfort of a good book over the latest in-flight entertainment, you should probably invest in a Kindle. The compact design lets you store all your favorite books comfortably in one place – without having to carry 5 pounds of paperback with you.
Compression socks are essential for travel. They come with a number of benefits ranging from medical prevention to comfort and can make the flying experience more enjoyable. This fun suit from Charmking comes in over 37 different color combinations and provides the right compression to ensure you get to your destination with reduced foot swelling and maximum comfort.
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