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Overcoming Airplane Anxiety

Traveling to a new place can be fun, exciting, and give you the chance to try something new. However, sometimes the only way to get to those new places involves flying. There are a lot of anxieties and stressors that come with flying, including the lack of control over the process, the fear of losing your luggage or being late, or juggling the restrictions that come with boarding a plane. 

No matter what your reason is for fearing flight, there are ways to prepare yourself mentally and physically so you can overcome the fear and make flying a bit more manageable.

Familiarize yourself with plane noises

Planes make a lot of interesting and unique sounds that you may have never heard before. The voices over the intercom, the dings to update passengers, or the whir of the engines may be foreign and overwhelm you, especially if you’ve never heard them before. Do some research on the typical bumps and noises that may occur during a flight. Anxiety may alleviate when you understand what noises you will hear and where they’re coming from. 

Learn about the safety features

Preparedness is key in any emergency situation, so knowing that you’re equipped to handle different scenarios may help ease worry. Research your particular aircraft, read the instructional card as you board, or look it up online in advance, and ask the stewardess for additional information if needed. Empowered with knowledge, you’ll feel more relaxed prior to departure.  

Pick your seat

Consider picking an aisle seat that gives you a little extra room to breathe and move about the cabin if necessary. This also allows you a chance to speak with the stewardess if you need to ask a question. As you select your seat, you could even choose to sit near an exit to put your mind at ease and alleviate feeling claustrophobic. 

Distract yourself

Bring something small to work on during the flight. Prior to departing, create a feasible checklist of things you want to accomplish while up in the air, and then work diligently to check those items off. Consider reading a book, a magazine, or even journaling. Something small that distracts your mind from wandering will prevent you from focusing on anything negative while you fly. 

Talk with a professional

Perhaps your anxiety gets the best of you because you or someone close to you had a poor experience in the past. Valley Oaks Health offers a variety of counseling options to help you overcome your fears, including individual and group sessions. Connecting with someone to unpack your concerns may provide a new level of comfort as you look to overcome your anxiety and take on a new adventure.

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