If the thought of flying makes you quiver in fear, then you’re not alone; a staggering 25 million Americans suffer from some form of anxiety. In fact, the situation has become so common that psychologists have coined a term for the feeling: aerophobia.
Most people are so scared of flying that you won’t find them anywhere near an airport commerce park, let alone an airport itself. If you happen to be in this large pool of people who dread flights, then fear not. This post will highlight some great ways to beat your fear of flight for a more pleasant experience.
Flight anxiety is not just limited to the flights itself; some folks suffer anxiety simply because they fail to prepare adequately before they arrive at the airport. You may start fussing about whether you’ve packed everything you need, whether you have all the proper documentation, or whether you’ve booked the right hotel when you are about to board the plane.
To avoid this scenario, consider adequately preparing for the flight beforehand. An itinerary is a great way to keep yourself organized and accountable. Gather all the necessary flight information, including the flight schedule, the passenger class you’re on, and the estimated time of arrival. It’s also useful to have a flight tracker app on your phone to help you know where you are at all times. If you’re always late for flights, consider getting to the airport commerce park up to three hours early to avoid traffic and issues in TSA.
Have Confidence in the Safety of Air Travel
Most airlines boast impressive safety records, and airlines have poured billions into their design and engineering to ensure the safety and comfort of the passengers. Furthermore, airports have adopted advanced mechanisms and infrastructure to facilitate smooth travel.
If you keep this in mind, you’ll realize most of your flying fears are often intrinsic. If you have mild claustrophobia because of the smaller seats in economy flights, then you might want to divert your attention to other aspects of your flight like watching TV or reading a book. Speaking of which…
Find Good Distractions
Distractions are great for mitigating any form of anxiety, especially nerves about flying. On the plane, distract yourself with a good book, some funny videos, or browse social media using on-air WiFi. Airlines have great in-flight entertainment systems with a variety of music, movies, television series, and documentaries to keep you entertained throughout your ride. In most cases, you’ll also find power outlets and charging ports that support most devices so you’re always connected.
Finding your own distractions is a great idea, but some flights have taken passenger anxiety into their own hands. To keep passengers distracted from feelings of fear, the San Francisco International Airport hired LiLou, the first-ever therapeutic pig for passengers with flight fear and anxiety. The pig dresses up in various costumes and does some cool tricks to ease the passengers’ anxiety before the flight.
Don’t Fight the Anxiety
It seems a tad ironic, but fighting against your anxiety can actually worsen its symptoms. Fighting anxiety is understandably natural, but flights are among the rare situations where you let the feelings flow. In fact, suppressing the panic will only give you temporary relief before the same feeling bursts in your chest again a few minutes later.
That’s why it’s important to acknowledge these feelings and take the necessary steps to ground yourself. By reinforcing your mind with positive thoughts, you will find it easier to overcome your fear and panic.
When you’re anxious, breathing becomes more of a workout than a reflex. So when you feel anxious during your flight, take a long deep breath through your nose, hold it in for a few seconds, then exhale all the air out before repeating the process. Doing this a few times will help calm your nerves and steady your breathing. You can also have a stroll around the airport commerce park before your flight to breathe in some fresh air and clear your mind.
If you take these few tips to heart, then you’re well on your way to beating your flight anxiety for good.