How to Keep Your Stress Level Down While Flying
Step 1: Breathe
Aerophobia, or the fear of flying, is super common. That doesn’t mean it’s any less troubling for those who experience it. The next time you’re taking a trip that requires TSA checks and overhead bins, try any or all of these 13 tricks to keep flight anxiety at bay.
Make a Packing List
Avoid the “Oh crap, I forgot a phone charger” moment while in the security line.
Pack as Light as You Can
No one has felt relaxed schlepping three giant bags through the concourse.
Leave Comically Early
Sure, you might be bored once you’re through security, but you’ll feel so much better knowing you’ve built in a ton of wiggle room.
In addition to helping you not get sick mid-flight, being hydrated makes you feel better all around.
But Not Alcohol
It has the reverse effect of water and makes you dehydrated.
If You Can, Sit at the Front of the Plane
The back of the cabin usually experiences turbulence more than the front does, so if you can, stick closer to the pilot.
Whether that means downloading a season of Modern Family onto your iPad, stocking up on episodes of a hilarious podcast like “2 Dope Queens” or packing an adult coloring book, keep yourself busy with basically anything you find enjoyable.
Acknowledge That You’re Anxious
Stress happens, and avoiding it won’t make it go away. The sooner you accept the way you’re feeling, the sooner you can work to combat that feeling.
Take Deep Breaths
When done correctly, it really does calm you down. Breathe very slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth. Repeat and feel better. (And angle that little personal AC vent on your face.)
Befriend the Flight Crew
This might not always make a difference, but if you’re afraid of flying, tell the flight attendants. Chances are, as long as you’re polite about it, they’ll understand and try to make you as comfortable as possible.
Learn How Planes Work
Knowledge is power. Before your next flight, learn how planes actually fly. This will normalize the event and make it a whole lot less mysterious (read: unpredictably scary).
Seek Professional Help
If your flying anxiety gets to the point where you’re losing sleep over it or feeling physically ill, consider seeing a psychiatrist, who can prescribe an antianxiety medication that will ease the pain of flying tremendously.
Think Happy Thoughts
Are you going on a tropical vacation? Flying to see friends or family? Think about the great things that await you on the other side of your flight and focus on the destination instead of the journey.