This post is all about flight anxiety tips.
Whether it’s business or pleasure, flight anxiety can be enough to make a four-hour flight miserable. Being up in the air for hours at a time, the last thing you want to do is experience a panic attack or nausea.
Luckily, you can fight your flight anxiety in many different ways to make sure that your flight is smooth sailing (or smooth flying…). By the end of this list, you’ll have the tools and coping mechanisms to focus on enjoying your destination and accomplishing your goals.
Remember: flight anxiety should never be enough to keep you from traveling, so take a look at our tips for dealing with it.
This post is all about flight anxiety tips.
BEST FLIGHT ANXIETY TIPS:
1. Keep yourself busy
When you’re flying for any amount of time, the number one tip to keep in mind is that you always want to keep yourself busy. From a book to a movie to work, make sure you bring enough stuff to occupy your time—that is if you don’t sleep.
The best way to keep your flight anxiety at bay is to keep your brain occupied. Of course, this doesn’t get at the root of anxiety, but only professional help and practice can get you there.
For those of you flying soon, whether you’re traveling for pleasure or not, you’ll want to focus on methods of anxiety relief that will keep you in control for the time you’re in the air.
That’s why you should plan enough material to occupy your time and keep you from obsessing about the flight. Plus, let’s be honest, flying is boring. So, it’s totally fine to distract yourself with reading, watching, or working.
2. Chew gum or bring a snack
Even the most seasoned travelers can get shaken up from taking off and landing. Planes often can disrupt your equilibrium, resulting in headaches or even panic attacks.
Chewing gum on takeoff and landing will give you something to focus on as you watch all of the houses and cars shrink. Then, when you’re up in the air, you can gnaw on some snacks, including the fun treats that flight attendants give out.
Bring that comfort food because, when you have flight anxiety and you have to be on a flight for a while, you don’t want to restrict yourself and cause hours of unnecessary anxiety. Instead, pack some snacks to work out that nervous energy.
3. Prepare yourself adequately
Particularly for those of you who have never flown, you’ll want to make sure you’ve slept and eaten before you get on the plane. No matter where you’re going (unless you’re first class), you’re likely going to have sparse food available on the plane.
Furthermore, you may have no way of sleeping (take it from someone who knows). So, plan to eat and sleep adequately before you board in the event that the plane ride doesn’t let you sleep or eat adequately.
The last thing you want is to be sleep-deprived and starving on top of your flight anxiety. Depending on your flight time, you can eat at the airport (many restaurants are quick because they understand they operate on deadlines and layovers).
4. Try medication
Before you try any new medication, verify its safety with your doctor. Talk through your options with a licensed physician to make sure that medication is safe and right for your situation. Keep in mind that you do not need to resort to anti-anxiety medication right away.
In some situations, you might opt for sleep-inducing medication like melatonin to limit the amount you are awake on your flight. This can be especially helpful for avoiding jet lag.
However, if your anxiety is severe, you can talk to your doctor about anti-anxiety medication. This can help calm your nerves and make the flight more manageable.
It’s important to consult with your doctor before taking any medication and to also take the necessary precautions in case of any side effects.
5. Stay informed
Read up about your aircraft, flight, and airline. Within reason. In other words, you can certainly do a deep dive into everything you could possibly learn about the plane that will be keeping you alive for the next few hours.
But, just as important as staying informed, you should take the time to understand how well-trained everyone on your flight crew will be. Not to mention, your plane is equipped to handle your life and does so with exceptional technology.
Remember: successful flights don’t make the news. Lastly, you can read about the weather forecast for your travel dates so you can mentally prepare yourself for any potential turbulence.
6. Practice breathing exercises
As always, when you have anxiety, it’s a good idea to have some breathing exercises up your sleeve. Practice box breathing, practice slowing yourself down, and practice focusing on the way your chest expands and deflates with each breath.
Sure, when you’re on a busy flight that may or may not be going normally, you’re less likely to think about the way that you breathe. This is why you practice ahead of time.
By doing breathing exercises before you fly, you’ll be able to recall and practice this in a time of stress. Keep in mind that deep breathing exercises can help calm your nerves. Focus on inhaling slowly and deeply, holding your breath for a few seconds, and then slowly exhaling.
Repeat this exercise until you feel relaxed. You can also try progressive muscle relaxation where you tense and relax each muscle group in your body, starting from your toes up to your forehead.
7. Visualize a calm place
Lastly, in the same way that you need to practice deep breathing before you fly, you need to find your happy place. Listen to some relaxing music, close your eyes, and look around. Identify what you see and where you are—this is your happy place.
This is the place you’ll return to when you’re feeling the flight anxiety kick in mid-flight. You’ll close your eyes and transport yourself to that calm and peaceful place. Focus on the details and let your mind drift away from your anxiety.
You can imagine yourself on taking a step on the beach with the sand between your toes and waves crashing, stepping on branches in a forest to the sound of birds chirping, or in any other peaceful place you can think of where the details come alive for you.