How to beat flight anxiety – tips & tricks

Anxiety is a state of mind and body that no longer requires an explanation since it’s considered one of the most common psychological disorders of today. However, many people are still ashamed of it, avoiding to talk about it, and thinking that something is very wrong with them if they struggle with it. To people who suffer from GAD ( eng. general anxiety disorder), anxiety is usually the biggest enemy, especially when they need to deal with some new and unknown situation. For those who intend to travel, first time flying by airplane can be a situation that can cause great issues and higher their anxiety and panic attacks to the max.

It’s important to emphasize that anxiety in a person begins long before entering the plane itself, and this precisely in that period is crucial to act.

My first flight was the one from Rijeka airport in Croatia to Stockholm, Sweden. The flight that is no longer than two and a half hours, but still had a major problem dealing with it, cause anxiety due to upcoming flight, persecuted me days ago.

Most common anxiety thoughts and symptoms

I am sure that all of you who deal with anxiety when going on a trip with an airplane deal with the same pattern:

  • What if the plane crashes and I die
  • What if I have a panic attack in the plane
  • Something bad is going to happen
  • What if I have lack of the air in the cabin
  • What if a terrorist attack happens while I am in the plain
  • What if I lose control in a plane and start screaming and go crazy in front of all of these passengers

Of course, all of these unpleasant thoughts are accompanied by horrible physical symptoms and emotions such as fear, sweating, pale skin, dry mouth, chest pain, dizziness etc.

Don’t worry there is solution for how to beat anxiety and way that helped me to make my first time flying less painfull.

How to beat anxiety during the flight

I think my anxiety starts the very moment that I realized that I have to go to Stockholm by plane and that I’ve never done that before. This was almost a month before a flight but has culminated three days before. I felt a lack of control and fear of the unknown and experienced all of the above symptoms. Then I realized that I have to change something, cause otherwise, I would not enjoy my vacation at all and will come back more tired than I was when I first went on my journey, so I begin to do following things;

Things to do before flight

STOP WHAT IF?

Have you noticed that all your fears and emotions begin with a thought, and the thought almost every time begins with; WHAT IF? or BUT?

“What if the plane crashes?” or “But, there can be bad weather and the plane can crash.”

FORGET IT! Those are all the trigger thoughts that are a total lie and will lead you nowhere else than in anxiety. Become aware of this trigger words and just dismiss them.

INTERRUPT NEGATIVE THOUGTS

Whenever a negative thought come to your mind , notice it and break it off momentally. The more often you practice this practice, thoughts and fare will fade, and eventually totally gone.

CHANGE YOUR FOCUS

There is so many things you have to prepare before your flight; preparing your bags, planning your trip and organisation. Try to focus on that things and change your focus of flying.

Things to do on airport

Since you have to come to airport much earlier, you have plenty of time before your flight, use that time wisely.

EAT SOMETHING

Food in the airplane is mostly pretty expensive and not quite tasteful, so try to eat some light meal at the airport because sugar level is really important and can significantly decrease cortisol – stress hormone and therefore reduce anxiety.

STAY HYDRATED

Water and hydration are also very important stats. Enough amount of water will improve blood pressure and general well-being. You can also try some herbal teas (chamomilla, melissa, valerian root) which have a mild sedative effect, and will release you while you travel. Be sure to avoid alcohol, nicotine or other stimulants cause they can increase anxiety levels.

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On the plane

Most fears and negative convictions about flying comes from a fact that we can’t go out from an airplaine when we want to, and from the assumption that we are detained.

BECOME AWERE OF THE SITUATION

When we transform those negative thoughts and become aware that we are actually in the statistically safest means of transport in the world, as well as that we feel safe and comfortable and actually don’t want to go out of the airplane, then our anxiety has no longer anchor and disappears.

BREATHING TECHNIQUES

There are many breathing practices that can reduce your anxiety to the minimum. The greatest thing of all is that you don’t have to be experienced in those at all. There are so many great mobile apps which you can use during your flight. One of them helped me survive my first flight;https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.abdula.pranabreath&hl=hr

TALKING WITH PASSENGERS

There is no better way to calm yourself then a small chat with the people around you. On my trip to Stockholm, there was a young couple with a small child who turned over my seat and we get to know each other. Her courage and calmness about a situation that we are in, makes me feel much better, too.

INFORM THE CABIN CREW ABOUT YOUR CONDITION

If you do all the above actions, and still don’t feel better, you can always tell the cabin stuff about your condition. They are well trained and educated people after all, who will probably take to to the pilot’s cabin tho reduce your fear or help you to calm down.

So whether your first time on the plane or you already got some experience, I hope those bits of advices find you at the right time and wish you a safe flight and a pleasant journey.

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