Fear of flying is a real phenomenon called aviophobia.
Everything about flying is unnatural – sitting in cramped quarters, not being in control, being literal miles up in the air – and serves as proof that humans are not meant to be airborne.
Luckily, fear of flying is treatable, and there isn’t a shortage of ways to deal with it. Here are some easy to follow tips to conquer your fear:
1. Clench your buttocks
While this is a rather unlikely solution for turbulence jitters, it may well distract you from dealing with fear. Think about it: Just the thought of how ridiculous a coping strategy this is should help take your mind off any fears. So, squeeze and clench people!
2. Suck on a straw
This is another distraction strategy that might ease your worries. Grab a drinking straw and tart breathing through it. The idea is that, by restricting the flow of air to the lungs, you will avoid hyperventilating due to nerves.
3. Get those upgrades
Feeling physically comfortable makes achieving emotional comfort that much easier so if you can get an upgrade, do it. Sleeping under a down blanket during a 15-hour flight could mean the difference between fearful or fun. See how to get an upgrade here.
4. Sit at the front of the plane
Book a seat at the front of the plane where any bumps and shakes are felt much less keenly. And if you do go through a rough patch, just let it flow through your body. Fighting it will only make you more anxious.
5. Massage your pressure points
To relieve feelings of stress or anxiety, massage pressure points in your neck and shoulder. You can also do a simple hand massage – place a thumb in your palm and apply pressure in sweeping motions outwards, towards the fingers.
6. Avoid alcohol and fizzy drinks
Alcohol and soda will add to your dehydration, giving you a headache and fatigue. That’s only going to make you feel more lightheaded, which is less than ideal if nerves are making you feel faint to begin with.
7. Aisle, middle, or window?
Figure out which seat makes you feel the most comfortable. Window seats create a sense of place by being able to reference the ground, while aisle seats allow for blissful ignorance. Middle seats give you two armrests to grip.
8. Face your fears
There’s a great big world out there to see, and as with any fear, facing your flight anxieties head-on can do a lot to normalise the experience and de-escalate your panicked moments. Read up on flight statistics, talk to a pilot or see a therapist to get some peace of mind.
Author: Natalya Molok
First published in: The Singapore Women’s weekly | 17 Dec 2017