Aviophobia, or the fear of flying, is one of the most widely-held phobias. The lack of room to move, unpredictable turbulence, and fluctuating temperatures can all contribute to an unpleasant environment and, if you already suffer with anxiety, these factors will only intensify the problem.
Luckily, there are plenty of options that can help you ease your flight-fears and we have a list for you!
Test medication at home before taking them on your flight
Whether it’s an over-the-counter medication or a prescription for your anxiety, it’s important to try the drug at home before flying. The University of Cincinnati’s research found that high altitude can affect the potency of certain medications, citing an increase in red blood cells and a reduction in plasma proteins as the reason.
Due to this, you’ll want to truly know the effects of the medication before trying them out for your flight. Beginning your routine a couple of weeks in advance will get your body used to the medication you’re taking and make the in-flight effects less unpredictable.If you want to avoid taking medication, visualisation practices can centre your thoughts and keep you relaxed and positive
Taking tablets is sometimes unnerving in itself; in many cases, meditative visualisation can prove highly effective in calming your psyche and keeping your in-flight thoughts from veering toward the negatives.
Experts advise to visualise how the day will go the night before flying. Pay attention to include as much detail as possible in your visualisation: think about how you’ll get there, think of what you’ll see on the way to the airport, what you’ll hear, will you get something to eat? Whilst imagining this, breath through your nose for a 3 count and exhale for 5 – this puts your nervous system at a state of relaxation.
It’s important to add breathing with the visualisation because, while you’re not actually experiencing the exact experience the day of your journey, you’re conditioning your brain to think you’ve already done this.
There’s a free app called Insight which holds lots of guided meditations that you can download pre-flight that are also really handy.Stay away from stimulants
A cup of coffee before a flight, especially early in the morning, seems like a good idea right? But if anxiety is a concern, stimulants like caffeine can work against you and make your flight feel less smooth. Things like coffee or energy drinks can make a flyer nervous and jittery.Exercise before your flight to improve your comfort level once you’re on board
The seats on planes aren’t known for their generous amount of leg-room; physical discomfort usually occurs during flights which can add to your nerves. However, working up a sweat before you take off can counteract the negative effects of cramped spaces, putting your mind and body at ease.Demystify turbulence
Turbulence always feels alarming; in reality, airplanes are designed to withstand massive amounts of it. Modern planes are built to withstand everything from bird strikes to lightning strikes, extreme heat and cold, to a gust of wind so strong it could bend a jet wing up to 90 degrees.
Just remember, commercial flights are actually the safest way to travel. The technology, cabin crew and pilots are all trained to deal with whatever comes your way. Just sit back, relax and think of where you’ll be once you land.