How I Deal With My Fear of Flying

If you have ever traveled by air with me, you know I experience a fear of flying. Heart racing, nervous, take a deep breath this plane is not going to crash with every bump flying anxiety. Did you know fear of flying is extremely common? It feels indulgent to complain about this with other problems around the world these days, but estimates are that 25 percent of Americans deal with some level of fear or anxiety about air travel. This post includes five steps I take to deal with my fear of flying.

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My fear of flying has improved over the years and I’m slowly chipping away at it with every flight. After a recent trip to Seattle, I researched how people deal with flying fear/anxiety and thought more about the steps I take to reduce mine. Traveling with baby C makes me want to resolve this issue for good because I don’t want him to figure out that mama is stressed for no reason.

1: Don’t wait until the last minute to pack.

Scrambling at the last minute makes me feel even more stressed for air travel, so I try to pack all of my luggage the day before a trip. This involves making lists, laying out my clothes, and packing everything but the daily essentials in advance.

2: Schedule non-stop flights {if possible}.

The most anxiety-producing moments of a flight for me are takeoff and the time it takes to reach cruising altitude. Scheduling a non-stop flight means I only have to go through this once per leg of travel.

3: Practice deep breathing.

Using deep or meditative breathing exercises is a significant help for dealing with fear of flying. During takeoff and any bumpy moments on a flight, I start taking deep breaths and count back from 100 slowly. The combination of counting and deep breathing works well for me. Berkeley offers a short guided meditation online to practice something similar – click here to check it out.

4: Invest in quality noise cancelling headphones.

I figured out a few years ago that my fear of flying is greatly reduced if the sounds coming from the plane are dulled with noise cancelling headphones. I have a pair similar to this and they work wonders to reduce my flying anxiety. I wear them throughout the entire flight even if I’m not listening to music or watching a movie. I can still hear well enough to order my standard ginger ale from the beverage cart.

5: Learn basic facts about air travel.

It has been helpful for me to read about air travel and airplanes, to learn basic facts. Below is a list of air travel articles that I found interesting to read. Two of my favorite stats: You are more likely to get struck by lightening than suffer a fatal plane crash; and commercial planes can land without any {working} engines.

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