How I deal with my fear of flying

I am not sure what is going on, but lately I’ve been gaining followers by doing exactly nothing. Thanks! Exams and internship are over, so normally I will have more time the coming weeks to write and read. In a next post I will update you about my summer plans.

I was thinking of a subject to write about and since I’ll be taking the plane this Sunday, I thought I’d write about anxieties related to flying. When you search the internet you can find quite a few tips about this subject, but I somehow always feel like these posts are written by people who don’t have the anxiety themselves.That’s why I decided to share my very brief experience with flying and my anxieties that come along with it.

My very first flight was only last summer, when I was 21. I often heard reactions like “what, you never flew before?”, well no, I did not. I must say that I was extremely nervous. For starters all things new make me nervous, let alone it was my first time travelling outside of Europe. I feel very uncomfortable taking public transport in general.

Les Alpes! #brusselsairlinestravel

A post shared by Emma (@curlygirlabroad) on

I guess the thing about airplanes that scares me the most is that I cannot get out whenever I want to. I am always looking for my “escape route”. Other than that, I somehow made up doom-scenarios in my head about how it would feel. These scenarios included, “I will feel like I am going to faint when the airplane goes of the ground”, “The airplane crashing and me finding myself in a scene of Cast Away, crying because I cannot find Wilson”, etc.

My (often crazy) thoughts made me so nervous I started crying. The first weeping episode started when my parents dropped me off, the second in the bathroom close to my gate, and a third moment of embarrassment on the airplane itself. If there existed a prize for most dramatic passenger, I would have won it!

Once the airplane was in the air, the crying turned to laughing, I felt so silly! All of this energy for nothing! I even found it magical I was flying. I even loved it. Then there was turbulence, which turned the love into “please get me out of here”, and finally the landing, where I had to remind myself to breathe. Once landed, “it wasn’t that bad!”. So each time I take the airplane, a roller coaster of feelings.

•••Fly!•••

So how to deal with anxieties… I guess the answer is to just face them! There is no magic formula that is going to make the anxieties disappear, there are a few tricks to deal with them however.

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Iceland from the sky

In fist instance, like I said, you have to face them. Your anxiety of flying isn’t going to pass, unless you actually take the first step to book a flight. Don’t let your fears stop you from going places! You will notice (like silly crying me) that in your head things are a lot worse as they actually are! I have taken 3 return flights so far, and noticed that each time it is going better!

•••Breathe! and other tips•••

  1. Breathing is always good, but it also helps to keep you calm. I have a relaxation number on my old-fashioned MP3-player that I use to do my breathing exercises. The key is to breathe through your tummy, not your chest, and to make sure you take long deep breaths! Also the relaxing music will calm you down a bit, definitely if you’ve practiced in advance. What also helps for me is to remind myself that I have more chance of dying in a car than on an airplane, I know this is a weird one, but it sure helps for me.

2. Ginger often does the magic for me. If I get anxious, or nervous, I tend to get nauseous. Since I am not a huge fan of pills of any kind, I use ginger instead. It is healthy and also very good for your stomach! Maybe it is only the idea that I ate/drank/ or taken a homeopathic pill with ginger that helps me calm down, but it sure makes me a bit calmer.

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Not sure but I think this was the Belgian coast

3. Don’t try to fight your anxiety. It mostly has a reverse effect. I know it is extremely hard (honestly I personally suck at applying this one), but somehow it is completely OK and NORMAL you are scared! I am pretty sure there are numerous people who are at least a tidy bit nervous before getting on a plane. Try to just except the feeling you have instead of fighting against it. If you notice you’re scared just observe the feeling and then tell yourself it is ok, you are just feeling this way because you are going to fly, but everything is going to work out just fine. I noticed that I also feel more comfortable if I tell someone I am scared. They mostly reply by reassuring you everything is going to be just fine, and in my head it comforts me to know that there is someone who knows (weird sentence).

4. What helps for me as well is to focus on my destination. You know up front how long it will more or less take to get there, so you can count down the time, and see each time you are getting closer. I also like to think about what I will be doing once I get there. If possible, watch a movie, play a game, read, … entertain yourself during and before the flight. For me this helps to put my focus on something other than my thoughts, plus it seems like the flight is less long.

5. Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol. In general these substances have a bad effect on your anxiety! For me caffeine triggers anxiety/panic, since 4 years I try to avoid using any, and I must say it helped a lot with controlling panic attacks! During and before the flight for me it is best to just drink water and have a light meal.

 

I hope this helps! Please feel free to share your personal ways of dealing with fear of flying!

43 thoughts on “How I deal with my fear of flying

  1. Omg perfect blog to read for me right now. I am going a plane for the first time in my adult life and I am terrified! I am going to try using Ginger. Maybe the smell will calm me down. Thank you so much for this! Great idea.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Haha yes, that is my advice always too! You just gotta do it, unfortunately. There is no other way aside from prescribed anxiety relievers!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You’re not alone. I’ve been flying my whole life and I still get anxious. When I was 10, I was on a plane where one of the engines caught on fire. It wasn’t as dramatic as it seems and the pilots did a safe, smooth emergency landing at the closest airport (with fire trucks chasing us down the runway, but it was still a smooth landing). We had to wait for a few hours until they could get us on another plane, and we were off again. Still, I think about that moment a lot. Turbulence freaks me out (NEVER fly into Reno, Nevada if you don’t like turbulence, holy moly). But, I still get on the plane every time because I love to see the world. The benefits outweigh the risks, so off I go!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this! Last summer I was a bit apprehensive to go on an airplane because I didn’t go on one until a year before that. I usually watch videos on why you shouldn’t bs afraid; it usually helps me before my flight. Will bookmark this page to read before my flight next month!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I first took to the air aged around two years old in the days when all aircraft had propellers!
    I’ve flown in all sorts of machines, some with open cockpits that flew very slowly, some where you were sitting inside a supersonic bullet and some without engines…I’ve loved them all especially when the government was paying me to fly them….!
    I understand why some people get anxious about taking to the air, but if you can embrace the moment it really is the most wonderful thing that most people can ever do!
    It’s just a shame sometimes that you can’t open the window for a bit of fresh air!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lol, they were my exact words when I started reading this Emma! “What she hasn’t flown before???” It’s great that you have a positive outlook towards your fears. My husband is not a keen flyer either, but you can’t let your fears stop you from travelling the world. There is so many wonderful places to discover out there 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Flying…to get where I want to go I have to fly and so many many hours….do I like it…no….I try and use Anthony Robbins mantra…”it was a great flight…” wow that was an amazing flight”…as I am flying to where I want to go. and on the return journey. I take a valium…yes drugs…it helps calm me. I log into the films or tv shows as soon as I can. I might have a wine to start then prefer tea and water. Living in Australia to get anywhere decent we are looking at 12 – 20 hours flying time. When the turbulence starts…its always around dinner….I think they do it for a joke see how many teas land in our laps lol. But I do my mantra..” it was a great flight” Tony Robbins always says to put yourself in the future …

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Haha, I had the same last couple of weeks. I gained a lot of followers without even posting a lot! Thank you by the way for these tips. I can go to NY next year but I’m super afraid of flying. But, I’ve been wanting to NY for lots and lots of years now. So I’ll probably be going but I my anxiety of flying is just super big. Maybe I can try your tips. I think they’re helpful because, as you said, you are/was also afraid of flying. Thank you girl! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve flown a lot since I was three weeks old and have now taken my four month old baby on six flights I believe and have another trip coming up this weekend.
    That being said, I still hate landing on planes. The loud roaring noise, not knowing whether they’re going to land on one wheel or two, all of it. But like you I’ve found breathing and just reminding myself the anxiety will disappear (not trying to “make it go away”) once we’ve landed… it won’t last forever!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t think anyone truly loves flying, I mean you never know what’s going to happen, right?! I always just try to think of my final destination and how it will be nice to be home, or on vacation or whatever. I remember when I flew to France I had an anxiety attack and just had to make myself breathe and fall asleep. Sometimes you have to fly for the best experiences!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Reblogged this on Hello Creatives Times and commented:
    I am Claustrophobic. This is the reason i didn’t fly for so many years. Last year we did go to South Africa, It was almost 22 hours flight. Thinking about that, i was so uncomfortable. I decided to have so many different things like i Pad, Movie, Novel whatever you like to think most. 🙂

    Like

  12. Great post! fun fact, flying is actually the safest transportation out there! The fears and the anxiousness of flying that we all have are influenced by several factors. Such as the influence of press and media when there is a plane accident, the lack of control that you have that you explain it in this post, etc. I explain it with psychological reasoning in my blog! here is the link = https://behavioralweb.wordpress.com/2017/08/20/why-we-afraid-of-flying-the-influences-of-press-control/

    Liked by 2 people

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