Your chances of dying by getting hit with a falling coconut? 1 in 250,000.
Your chances of dying in a plane crash? 1 in 11 million.
Regardless of these statistics, we see many more people with a fear of flying. And not as many worried that they will die via a coconut or asteroid in the head.
Why is it that more than 40% of people have reported a fear of flying? People are much more likely to get eaten by a shark or flattened by a vending machine, after all.
While we may not be able to explain this fear, perchance, we could reduce it. Scroll down and learn 10 tips to help ease your anxiety on a flight.
1. Allow Meditation to Deter Your Fear of Flying
You do not need to be a Tibetian monk in this day and age to master meditation. In fact, technology has changed the way we think about mindfulness and meditation quite a bit. Mindfulness is often used to help curb people’s phobias.
There are tons of apps out there that can help guide you through meditation. If you want a good starter app, you should try one like Headspace. Headspace and apps like it will go through, step by step, and help instruct you on how to begin meditation sessions.
There are also apps like Calm, that can help meditate you into sleeping on your flight. That way, you can sleep through all the anxiety, and wake up at your destination.
2. Bring Lots of Distractions Along
This may sound like a childish out, but it works for a lot of people. If you have a flight coming up, make sure to download movies, podcasts, music, and some TV shows onto your devices. You cannot always bet on the plane having in-flight entertainment.
If technology isn’t enough, try bringing some books and magazines along for your flight. You can also bring work along if you have any of that to do. If you are on the craftier side, try bringing along your knitting or a coloring book.
Being able to keep your hands and mind busy will deter how long your flight feels.
3. Take a Fear of Flying Course
Yes, you can take a class. Several airlines, including Virgin, EasyJet, and British Airways, offer fear of flying courses.
These classes are run by pilots, crew members, and psychologists. As a team, these people try to address all your flying fears and help you get over them. They will even answer all your questions.
These classes only happen a few times a year, so make sure to book one in advance if you would like to give it a try.
4. Stow Yourself Away: Use Earplugs and Eye Masks
Some of the things that make people the most nervous on flights are the random things they hear and the things they see. If this is the case for you, you need to turn your brain off.
Invest in a nice set of earplugs and a good eye mask. Most earplugs will tell you on the box how many decibels they block out. You can also look at Amazon reviews to ensure you are getting an eye mask that gives you complete darkness.
Don’t count on the airplane to provide these things for you. Some airlines do not have them for domestic flights.
As the old saying goes: it is better to have it, and not need it, then need it, and not have it.
5. Treat Yourself
Often people’s fear of flying stems from their claustrophobia. If this is your problem, try to choose an aisle seat, so you feel closer to exits. You will also have an easier ability to get up as needed.
If you can afford it, try paying a little more for a larger seat. Many flights now offer business class, which is cheaper than first class prices. You can also look at a map of the plane and pay an extra fee for a larger seat in economy.
If all else fails, ask a flight attendant for help. If you tell them you are nervous, and the flight is not full, they will more than likely try to accommodate you with more space in another seat.
6. Take Anxiety Medication
Modern medicine is amazing. Now, while medication is not the answer to all things in life: it can be a good temporary fix if you have debilitating flight anxiety.
It is not uncommon for psychiatrists or general practitioners to fill a small prescription to help ease your flight worries. These medications tend to be non-habit forming and can make a big difference in how you feel in the air.
Your body tends to do this without you asking it to. But breathing is by far the best way to calm yourself down when you start to feel afraid to fly.
There are boatloads of techniques you can use. But the main goal is to slow your breathing down. You should be focusing on your exhale and not your inhale.
When you panic, your breaths become short and choppy. This elongates your state of panic. Take deep breaths, hold them in for a couple of seconds, and then breathe out completely.
Keep doing this until your panic passes. If your flight anxiety creeps up again: repeat.
8. Tell Yourself Positive Affirmations: Replace and Repeat
When it comes to fear, your brain is your frenemy. Fear makes thoughts like, “We are all going to crash and die in the ocean.” an easy place to go.
But your brain is a powerful muscle. You can use it to help you combat these worst-case scenario thoughts.
You do not have to lie to yourself, but try and be rational. Admit your fear, but add rationality to it. You can say something to yourself like, “I know I am afraid of flying, but this flight will be fine and not crash.”
You can also repeat small phrases to yourself. They can be as simple as, “I am fine”, “Everything is ok”, “I am safe”, &etc. Repeating these things over and over again can help alter and calm your fears.
9. Get to The Airport Early
This advice may seem counterintuitive. If I am afraid of flying, why would I want to spend more time than needed in an airport?
Face it; an airport is a stressful place. You have to wait in long lines and go through a lot of security. It is also expensive.
If you are someone who is prone to a fear of flying, you do not want to add to your anxiety with small stressors. Get to the airport and your boarding gate early. The less stress you have feeding your worries, the better.
10. Seek Professional Help
You could have a job or a lifestyle where you often, and have aviophobia (fear of flying). If so, you may want to seek therapy or a psychologist to help you with your fears.
The root of this phobia may stem from somewhere else. And counseling may be exactly what you need to cope with it.
Beat Your Fear of Flying
You might feel alone in your battle. But 25 million Americans have a fear of flying. These are only a few tips to help you along the way.
If you are lucky, through meditation, breathing, and the help of others, your phobias will fly away themselves.