22 January 2019

How To Calm Your Anxiety And Fear Of Flying

Mountain View

I have a secret to share, one that I'm not really hiding, but one that I don't talk about often. I have a fear of flying. I didn't always feel anxious about flying. In fact, I have traveled to France, all over Eastern Europe, California, Mexico and more with no problems what so ever. But something changed after having kids, and it has progressively become worse over the years. Last year when Jonas and I travelled for his national soccer team, I finally came to the realization that I needed to face my fear because it was having an impact on my family. I worried that when we flew together I was turning to him for support and help in calming my nerves. I also worried that my fear would cause him to become scared. Either that or he would think his mom was crazy.

I'm fortunate that I have never experienced a panic attack, but the feelings that overcome me when I fly feel like they could mirror one. My hands become clammy, it's hard for me to swallow, I'm extremely jittery and the littlest bump will send me into worst case scenario mode. You definitely don't want to hold my hand because I most likely will have the ultimate death grip. I also catch myself in irrational thoughts. The last time we visited Friday Harbor we decided to forgo the ferry and take a plane to the island. If I would have known that the plane only seated nine passengers I probably would have never even considered it. I was convinced the pilot was ninety, in reality he was probably sixty, and that he was going to have a heartache while flying and all would be over. I honestly thought that! Crazy, right?

I may have a fear of flying but I refuse to let that keep me from traveling and embracing journeys. Over this past year I have slowly learned how to deal with my anxiety and I have found a few ways to keep calm and at ease while on a plane. The anxiety has not gone away, but if I put a little work into it on my end, it does ease up.

Create A Playlist
I'm a music person, and music always affects my mood. As soon as I board the plane and take my seat, I throw on my headphones and listen to a playlist I create in advance. I opt for music that is soothing and slow, usually a mix of Pink Floyd, Pearl Jam, Bon Iver and Mumford & Sons.

Keep Yourself Distracted
Take advance of upgrades, especially if it's a longer flight. Consider upgrading your seating. I also always purchase the wifi so I can watch a movie to take my mind off the flight. I have also noticed if I'm into a good book my mind will not wander towards anxiety. Distract yourself so you don't overthink the situation.

Sit Toward the Front of the Plane
According to JetBlue, the front of the plane is quieter, which could help ease anxiety. And if you think about it, riding in the back of a bus, van or car tends to be bumpier than the front, I'm guessing it's the same with an airplane.

I have recently started to meditate daily, and have found just five minutes can bring peace and calmness to the mind. I have been on the search for an app, and so far I have tried out Breathe and Calm. You can upgrade both apps for full access, but at this point I just use the free portions. They are limited, but for right now they work. Using a meditation app on your flight is a great tool for calming the mind.

Anxiety is real. Do not ever feel ashamed or embarrassed, and if you get to the point where you feel it is spinning out of control, consult your doctor. I usually have a glass of wine or a cocktail on the flight, but my anxiety with flying may be to the point where I need to talk to my physician. Please keep in mind, if you are taking medications you should not mix them with alcohol.

Just last week we took a trip to Breckinridge, CO and I tried of few of these techniques on the flight, and you know what? They actually worked! I felt the most at ease and calm which gives me a great sense of hope when it comes to beating my fear of flying. What about you? Do you experience anxiety when it comes to flying? How do you handle your fears?

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