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Here Are Five Tips To Ease Your Anxiety On Your Next Flight

For anxious flyers, being in an airplane for hours at a time is a harrowing and seemingly endless attack on the senses — sensory overload, if you will. As the airplane takes off, you feel your ears pop from cabin pressure; you feel your throat constrict and your hands shake; beads of sweat start falling from your forehead, and your mind is abuzz with fear and looming panic.

Being consumed by a wave of anxiety during the entire duration of a flight can be caused by a variety of factors such as aviophobia (or the fear of flying), trauma, or other mental health conditions. If you’re an anxious flyer, you’re not alone — one in three people suffers from flying anxiety. The next time you fly on a plane, here are five tips to help ease your anxiety:

Take Anti-Anxiety or Sleeping Pills

If you’re fine with taking medications during your trip, this tip is the sure way to go. You should know that you will need a prescription for anti-anxiety or sleeping pills. So, weeks before your trip, visit your doctor and explain your situation. He or she might want to try out one or two types to see how well or how poorly you react to the medication. Once you find the right one, make sure to keep them in handy in your carry-on bag. These types of pills usually take effect after 30 minutes to an hour, so take one before boarding your flight. You’ll feel more at ease and eventually zonk out in no time. The only downside is feeling drowsy and muddled afterward, but better that than worrying, right?

Attend A Fearless Flying Class

While some anxious flyers can rely on medication or certain techniques to help with their anxiety, there are certain people who find flying absolutely terrifying. If you’re part of the latter and you have an upcoming trip, taking a fearless flying class will do you a world of good. Incorporating skill development and cognitive-behavioral techniques, this type of class provides assistance for frequent yet anxious flyers in managing and curbing the onset of anxiety and its symptoms while on a flight.

Seek Support From People

It would be ideal to travel with someone if you’re an anxious flyer. Their presence alone can help alleviate your fear or if you can manage, try engaging in a conversation with them. You can even be open about your anxiety, and by doing so, you will be able to unload and relieve yourself of your nervous thoughts and feelings. If you’re traveling alone, you can let the flight attendant know of your problem, so they can give you extra attention and help in case you have a panic attack.

Find Healthy Distractions

Numerous aircraft nowadays provide a variety of in-flight entertainment in the form of movies, music, or reading materials. You can make use of these or better yet, bring your own books to read as well as your favorite snacks to help keep you distracted. If airplane noise is one of your triggers, make sure to bring along a pair of earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to block out these sounds. If you can, stand up once in a while and walk up and down the aisle (do make sure that you don’t disturb other passengers!). A little movement or stretching will be a big help in calming your anxiety.

Breathe Deeply

If you find yourself on the verge of a panic attack or if you feel your symptoms worsening, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Do so until your anxiety subsides. Try to relax your body as well while you practice this relaxation technique. If it doesn’t work, you can opt for meditation — clear your head and visualize being in your favorite place. You’ll start feeling better soon enough.

Try one or all these tips on your next flight. Just remember that you’re safe and sound and that there’s actually no immediate threat to your safety while flying. In fact, you’re in more danger while riding a cab than flying in an airplane, according to statistics. Trying to calm down before or during a flight is easier said than done, and hopefully, these five tips will help banish the fear and melt away the anxiety troubling your mind.

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