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Tips on easing flight anxiety

Monday, July 27, 2015


If you're like me with anxiety, flying is probably not a preferred traveling method. Every time I'm on a plane, it seems I'm on edge and can never fully enjoy the flight, no matter how much I want to.

It's almost like that Friends scene where Phoebe calls Rachel to tell her there's something wrong with the left phalange and the guy sitting next to her overhears and freaks out.

"This plane doesn't even have a phalange!"

I'm that guy always.

I'm already feeling uneasy about the impending flight to Florida (I suppose this post is a bit of therapy for myself) and while I haven't figured out the magic secret that doesn't involve some benadryl, I have found a few courses of action to take a chill pill. (Metaphorical this time)

Prepare. Treat the morning/ day of your flight like any other. Go through your routine, get your coffee... don't think of the traveling as some big event.

Music. Music is comforting to me in any situation, particularly music of the Taylor Swift variety. If you're listening to a song or artist that chills you out or is familiar to you, you're more likely to focus on that than the stressful situation. Earphones in, airplane mode on, aaand go.

All the books. If you're not one to get motion sick while reading in a car or plane, be sure a good book is in your carry on. (Or two, depending on your flight length) You'll need something light and fun like Mamrie Hart's book. I've been saving my copy for travel day because it's impossible not to laugh when Mamrie is involved.

Imagine yourself at your final destination. This one seems so simple, but I think it can really help. Picture yourself already there, safe and sound. What do you have planned once you get there? Get lost in it and you'll be landing before you can say "more wine please."

Pray + think good thoughts. Another little thing, but I always say a prayer beforehand and once I'm on the plane. Make positive thoughts float through your mind and stay there. I'll make it through this flight. It's only _____ long. Everybody will be safe. Etc. etc.....

Check your safety. Take mental note of where the oxygen masks and flotation devices are, and it can be helpful to make a quick plan of action just in case. 

Acknowledge your feelings. Let the anxiety manifest for a moment, and then breathe. You can distract yourself and focus on coping methods, but don't forget that acknowledging how you feel is important as well.

Do any of you deal with flight anxiety? Tell me how you do it! I'm curious. (And okay, I'm also up for new suggestions)


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