Flying can invoke fear in many people for a myriad of different reasons. Some are scared of turbulence or the feeling of falling whilst others are afraid of crashing. Whatever the reason may be, unless you intend to never travel and see the world, you have to find ways to try and placate this anxiety. Here are some tips to help make your flying experience less distressing.
NERVOUS FLYER TIP #1
Safe. Remind yourself that flying remains as the safest mode of transport. Period.
NERVOUS FLYER TIP #2
Stay Busy. Keep yourself occupied and entertained throughout the flight. Ensure you have enough activities to last the whole duration, especially on long haul journeys. With some of the on demand entertainment options on some carriers these days, you could simply watch movies from takeoff to landing! The same applies with keeping your kids busy during periods which may frighten them such as reading them a book during takeoff or putting on a movie when experiencing some turbulence.
NERVOUS FLYER TIP #3
Foods and Drinks to Avoid. Avoid stimulants such as coffee and sugary beverages. This includes alcohol as it tends to heighten your anxiety. Only consume things which help to calm your senses and keep you more relaxed such as chamomile tea, sniffing on lavender sachets or sucking on peppermints. For the kids, it is tempting to lull them into a false sense of security by giving them too many sugary treats as you may think it would make them feel better. But we all know what too much sugar can do to kids!
NERVOUS FLYER TIP #4
Breathe. One of the most basic calming techniques is learning to consciously breathe properly. This helps to soothe the anxieties by breathing through your nose and exhaling through your mouth as slowly as possible. Flyers who are worried about experiencing a panic attack should learn to master this pre-flight. That way you are equipped to deal with this scenario when it happens.
NERVOUS FLYER TIP #5
Use an App. Believe it or not, there are apps out there that can help with apprehension and just the thought of being able to take anxiety relief everywhere you go, is relief in itself! You can try Self-Help for Anxiety Management, Breathe2Relax or I Can Be Free Human Progress. There are quite a few on the market and most of them are even free. Find one that suits you best.
NERVOUS FLYER TIP #6
Stay Clam. There is nothing worse for children who may have flying anxiety then to see their parents panicking. Stay calm and reassure them. Talk to them in a soothing voice and make them as comfortable as possible. As a parent, if you are the nervous flyer, do your best to mask it so the kids don't develop the same issues. We have found that putting on a brave face also helps the parent in the long run.
NERVOUS FLYER TIP #7
Professional Help. Should the fear of flying grip you to a point where you are physically starting to feel ill, have regular panic attacks and are avoiding travel altogether, it may be time to see professional help. Speak to a doctor or a mental health professional and perhaps find a solution that may help you.
NERVOUS FLYER TIP #8
Turbulence. This is the most common fear experienced by nervous flyers. To help you overcome or diminish this fear, take the time to understand what turbulence really is. It is not dangerous and is the same as being in a car and driving over bumpy roads. Have you ever noticed that the flight attendants are not bothered by turbulence? They go about their work routine as normal and should it really be treacherous, why would they choose to do this for a living and put themselves at risk every single day?
NERVOUS FLYER TIP #9
Location on the Plane. If you are afraid of turbulence, sit in the front of the aircraft as it is far less bumpy compared to the rear. More importantly, you are then not confronted with the full length of the plane in front of you as it bounces about! Selecting window or aisle seats can also make a difference as some nervous flyers find solace in the view out of the window whilst others prefer to be right in the middle of the row to avoid looking out at all! Children tend to prefer window seats as it creates a sense of adventure!
NERVOUS FLYER TIP #10
Type of Aircraft. If flying internationally, try booking your flight on a double decker A380. Secure a seat in the front of the upper deck as they are incredibly smooth and quiet. Larger planes are less susceptible to bumps whilst they also have the ability to fly at higher altitudes which means less chance of hitting turbulence.
NERVOUS FLYER TIP #11
Sleep. Try and sleep. Bring whatever you need to make yourself comfortable that may aid the sleeping process. Perhaps make a playlist with calming music, read a book or do something that isn't overly stimulating. Overnight flights may be best for you and your family as you may naturally sleep anyway.
NERVOUS FLYER TIP #12
Alert Flight Attendants. Inform your flight attendants you are a nervous flyer as they can be really helpful in trying to alleviate some of the stress. They can be very friendly and empathetic, which will most certainly help you or your children during the flight.
NERVOUS FLYER TIP #13
Noise. Some of the nervousness experienced during flying is the noises you can hear throughout the flight. Kids may find some of them rather distressing so invest in some noise cancelling headphones to drown out the unwelcome sounds.
NERVOUS FLYER TIP #14
Placebo. Bring along anything that will help calm your nervousness. Make sure the kids have their security blanket or that one soft toy or pillow they never leave home without. Bring along anything that will make you feel better such as crystals and good luck charms or even go as far as getting a pre-flight blessing if you are religious and believe it will help.
NERVOUS FLYER TIP #15
How Flying Works. Learn everything you can about flying. A lot of the fear stems from ignorance about flying and coupled with the fact that you have no control of the process, it can be terrifying. If you however spend some time learning about aviation facts, it is a useful tool to keep at the back of your mind. Every time you start to worry about something, refer to your learnings so that you can squash that fear immediately. You'll soon learn that flying truly is the safest mode of transportation.
It is unrealistic to think you can overcome this fear in its entirety. The trick is to have a few handy tips you can practice to help make the journey more enjoyable. Don't let your fears prevent you and your family from experiencing the gift of travel.