How to Deal With Airplane Anxiety

As someone who loves to travel, I've had to face my fear of flying on several occasions. I wish I could say it's gotten better over time, but a sharp pang of worry never fails to strike about a week before I'm scheduled to step foot in the airport. I'm not really sure what I'm worried about. Flying is one of the safest ways to travel, if not the safest. Despite that proven fact, airplanes turn me into a ball of nerves. Irrational thoughts plague my brain. Fortunately, I've learned several different coping mechanisms to get me through each flight.

Listen to music during takeoff and landing.

I have mixed feelings about takeoff. Zooming down the runway, watching the scenery fly past and anticipating liftoff is exciting. However, I also find my heart racing during this part of the flight. To ease my worry, I've gotten into the habit of listening to music before and after ascending into the air. I'm pretty sure electric devices weren't allowed during takeoff until very recently. Needless to say, I'm really happy about the change of rules! Music soothes me and takes my mind off the scary noises that sometimes come from the airplane's wings and engine. It also gets me pumped up and excited for my trip.

Get friendly with your neighbors.

I love meeting fellow travelers while flying. On a recent flight to Nashville, I sat next to the kindest elderly woman. We started talking about my job, her farm back home, our travels, our cats, and countless other things. She was completely calm, which put me at ease. Obviously, the personality of your airplane neighbor is a toss up. I've endured long flights next to people who never said a word to me, spent hours sleeping or just seemed downright grouchy. But making conversation, if possible, is a great way to take your mind off the fact that you're thousands of feet in the air.

Bring a photo of your destination.

This is a really great method for reminding yourself why you're enduring several hours of frightening transatlantic air travel. Looking at a beautiful photo of your destination has the ability to transform your anxiety into excitement. Even though flying can be scary, it's an incredible opportunity that allows us to see so much of the world. Pretty awesome, huh?

Distract yourself.

During my trip to Ireland, I watched two movies back-to-back. It was wonderful! My flight went by really quickly, and I was finally able to watch two rom-coms I had been eyeing for months. It basically felt like we were in a floating movie theater. If you're not in the mood to watch a movie, find another way to distract yourself. Play a phone game, reading, write, or purchase WiFi and use your laptop.

Have relaxation remedies available as a last resort.

If your upcoming flight is causing you extreme anxiety and panic, talk to your doctor about a prescription sedative. There are many medications out there with a calming effect that can help you conquer your fear of flying.

Do you get nervous before flying? What helps you stay calm?