Look, I get it, flying isn’t the most comfortable to undergo. Your ability to control your surroundings is limited, you’re confined to a tiny little chair sitting beside someone who likely smells terrible, and the littlest bump will make you think you’re going down.
I know quite a few people who have a fear of flying – my forearm is the sole witness, as my friends’ dig their nails in during take-off and landing. I mean, I’ve even had my moments of not feeling completely at ease, myself, but after the countless flights, and discussion with those that have an innate fear of flying, I have come up with a few things you can do when you find yourself not feeling too happy sitting in that airplane seat….
This isn’t easy, because likely if you’re scared, nothing will distract you, but be sure to charge your batteries, and pack that book you’re loving (as well as a back-up, because if you’re loving it, you’ll likely finish it). This is really anything that has been able to distract your mind in the past, and are things you normally do in the comfort of your own home. I try and make the space around me as familiar as possible. Perhaps the blanket you cozy up under, when reading said book, is a great addition as well.
Take Deep Breaths
Don’t focus on the sounds or the turbulence, focus on your breathing. Do this very slowly and consistently. Do you take yoga? If not, do it. Practice Pranayama – specifically taking those breaths all the way down to your belly. If a sound will help distract you, Ujjayi can help you focus on your rhythm. Don’t know what I’m talking about – check out this or for goodness sake, listen to me occasionally, and do some yoga classes.
Ask for Help
Tell the cabin crew members. They can help find something that can distract you, or find the best seat possible to alleviate any shaking and rattling. They will also check in on you every so often, just to be that person to have a conversation with you. Remember, this is very common, and you’re not the only one – so likely, even the moment you mention it to the cabin crew, your seat mate will clue in, and also help in that distraction.
Don’t Sit in Exit Row
You’re not a viable candidate for the extra leg room…. You need to be available and ready to help in an emergency, and let’s be honest, you’re likely to not be that person. But guess what… it’s proven that seats next to the wings of the aircraft receive less turbulence – so try to select those. And stay away from the tail.
You’re safer on an airplane than you are in a car. It’s seems outrageous but airplanes are designed to take on a lot more than minor turbulence – and remember, what you’ve experienced is more minor than the minor turbulence I’m speaking of here.
I hope some of these tips have given you some food for thought for the next flight you take. I think it’s important to note that I have not suggested sleeping pills here, as if you’re really that afraid, you’re not falling asleep, you’re fighting that pill, and becoming more paranoid (one of the multiple side effects of most sleeping pills….). I do however think it’s more important to not let the fear of flying deter you from seeing the world. Just think of the beauty that’s on the other side, because, my goodness, it is something to behold.