Natural Ways to Help Overcome Fear of Flying
There are a number of ways to battle and overcome a fear of flying. Each person is different, so please do your research and see what makes the most sense for you. Below are a few management techniques that may also be of help before your next flight.
1. Know What to Expect
Have you ever heard the saying that knowledge is power? When it comes to overcoming your fears, pure logic and information can sometimes help curb the flow of overwhelming negative thoughts and ideas. The myriad of plane noises and sounds heard during takeoff, landing, and in-flight, can often be a trigger for those suffering from a fear of flying. (In actuality, many of these noises are completely normal and to be expected. You can read about the sounds that a plane makes here, at Unpacked: Sights and Sounds on an Airplane.)
2. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
While many people reach for coffee, wine, or beer as a way to regulate energy and mood, these drinks can have very different effects on our bodies and minds during flights. Your body may take longer to adjust to being airborne and may have negative effects when trying to adjust for jet lag when you drink alcohol.
Instead, focus on staying hydrated with plenty of water throughout the flight, and try to eat lightly and snack enough on fruits and vegetables to keep you feeling full and energized.
3. Practice Breathing Techniques
When you become stressed due to fear, it can be difficult to change your breathing patterns. Being well versed in breathing techniques can help you combat those fears and focus your mind in a healthy way that will help relax you. Try holding your breath for a short time and then breathing deeply.
Alternatively, force yourself to breathe out for an extended period—as long as you can—and then inhale deeply and slowly. Practice these methods regularly and use them if you begin to feel fear creeping in.
4. Familiarity Breeds Comfort
Distraction is a vital and powerful tool. When you go on a flight, make sure you have something familiar with you, whether it’s an item of clothing or a small blanket. A great way to distract yourself is to turn your attention to something you are already familiar with—for example, a TV show or film you’ve started watching or a book you’re reading. Jumping back in is easy and quickly engages your mind.
5. Communicate With Friends, Family, and Staff
Some people feel embarrassed by their fear of flying, but there is no need to be ashamed. Informing your friends, family, or coworkers allows them to check on you and be there to help as needed. Sometimes, just having the knowledge that there are people there for you is enough to help keep the fear at bay.
Informing the flight staff that you’re not a fan of flying is also a great tool. They’ve dealt with nervous flyers almost every day of their career, and know how to talk you down, check on you without being intrusive, and alleviate your fears while in flight. Trust them to do their jobs, and remember that your safety is all flight attendants’ number one priority.