Although I am lucky enough to travel as often as I do, I unfortunately deal with a rather crippling fear of flying. No matter how many times my mom tells me it’s going to be fine, or how many times I ask to speak with the pilot to reassure me (yes, I still do this) it is something that still gives me anxiety weeks leading up to any trip. Thankfully, I’ve developed a bit of a guide to help me get over this psychological hurdle, and wanted to share it with you, in case some of you also deal with Aviophobia.
The most important thing to do in order to calm those pesky negative thoughts during a flight is to remind yourself of the proven FACTS. Some of my favorite to repeat to myself while dealing with a long flight or turbulence are:
- Flying is the safest, most scrutinized form of transportation available. The chances of dying in an airplane crash are one in 11 million. To put that into perspective, the chances of dying in a car crash are 1 in 5000, and you most likely don’t panic each time you get into your car and drive somewhere.
- Turbulence is normal. I know the natural reaction to the bumpiness on the flight is to automatically grab the hand of the person sitting next to you (stranger or not) but it just means the plane is going through air pockets of different temperatures. Think of it as a speed bump- no big deal. If it’s something that really triggers your anxiety, try to buy a ticket for seats closest to the wings, where you can feel it less.
- IF anything were to happen to the engines, a plane could fly safely with only one working one, and land without either. It would simply glide until it found its way to the ground (not dive nose-down like my brain likes to tell me). Even in a potential accident, The National Transportation Safety Board reports that you’d still have a 95% chance of survival.
In addition to these facts, there are a few things I can’t fly without, and that definitely help with my anxiety:
- Dramamine- as if hyperventilating on airplanes wasn’t enough, I also happen to have severe motion sickness. Cars, trains, and especially planes induce stomach churning nausea for me, which, if left untreated, leads to the inevitable (barfing). Not only does dramamine keep my motion sickness at bay, its drowsiness effect puts me to sleep, meaning I can’t even be awake to panic. If you’d like to be awake and alert during your flight, there is a non-drowsy version you can use.
- Noise-cancelling headphones. If there’s one thing you should invest in to calm your fears on a plane, it’s this. Watch a movie, listen to music, read a book- not hearing the hum of the engine makes a world of a difference for me, and I can’t imagine flying without them.
- Lavender essential oil. I find that the second I step onto a plane, what bothers me the most is actually the smell. I don’t know if it’s the stale air but it automatically makes me want to hurl. To combat this, I rub some lavender essential oil on my wrists and behind my ears so I can smell that instead.
I hope this post helped some of you- if you have any tips on how you deal with your fears of flying, leave them down in the comments below!