Can anybody claim they truly enjoy flying? Many of us seem to have at least one friend who claims it is not a frightening prospect, and that the experience of turbulence is fun. However, with around a fifth of the British population suffering from a fear of flying, and 10% staying firmly grounded, that means there are a large amount of wannabe globetrotters not fulfilling their wanderlust.
The late and great Paul Mansfield, freelance contributor to Telegraph Travel, flew all over the world for his job. However, back in 2008, he released an article on how he battled with fear of flying and the ways in which he endeavoured to overcome it.
Even some of the most experienced flyers still have a palpable level of nerves when flying. However, below are five different tips and tricks to enable you to live out your adventures and not stay grounded by your fear.
Even though your emotions might be all over the place, try to step back and think about the bigger picture. Data shows that there is a 99.9999971% chance that your flight will arrive without any trouble at all and that you have a higher chance of getting injured simply sitting in your own home.
However, rarely do these statistics give us peace of mind. If you hear a noise or feel something that makes you feel nervous just ask a flight attendant. They will always be able to give you a logical explanation. Furthermore, there is no harm in letting the flight crew know you suffer from fear of flying when boarding the plane. They tend to keep a special eye on passengers who reveal this information.
If you are in flight and an attendant isn’t immediately available close your eyes and have a discussion in your head. Ask yourself what is scaring you and whether anybody else was looking startled. If the rest of your passengers are looking relaxed, chances are this will help you to feel safe.
Bring your favourite sweatshirt, a small blanket, or a travel pillow, and cosy down for the flight. This is ideal for both long and short haul flights as you can while away the hours in peaceful slumber. Arm yourself with a sleep mask and music player to block out any unwanted interferences.
Many people upload nature noises or classical music to their devices as this is often most soothing when trying to fall asleep. If you are afraid you will struggle, so herbal sleep aids (available in most health food shops) can really help you doze off.
If sleeping is not an option because you are racing with adrenalin another great option is to distract yourself. Becoming absorbed in a book, game, or film can have you checking the clock to find out you will be preparing for landing in a matter of minutes. If you aren’t a fan of aeroplane meals, you can also purchase some of your favourite foods and snacks so that you have those to look forward to.
If you are travelling with family or friends, get them to distract you with card games or conversation. You could both peruse a book about the destination you will be landing in very soon and start planning an itinerary.
Use Stress Relief Techniques
Anxiety when flying can often see us fidgeting in our seats uncontrollably. The get your emotions under control it can be best to drain excess energy or take a break to try and slow your heart rate. Simply taking some sips of water and breathing deeply can help alleviate nerves.
Alternatively, you can bring a stress-ball on the flight. These subtle objects can be squeezed continually until you have released your nervous energy. Also, tensing and releasing the muscles in your body will help expel energy and create a calm feeling.
Visit Your Doctor
Many people feel like visiting the doctor to enquire about medication to help with a flying phobia is frowned upon. Many people visit the doctor every day to have help with their anxiety and many doctors will talk to you about how you feel to prescribe the most appropriate medicine for you.
Usually, a doctor will prescribe you a very small amount of a medicine. The most common in the UK is diazepam, sometimes referred to as Valium. It acts as a sedative to decrease anxiety. This is not appropriate for frequent flyers as Valium can become addictive but, once or twice a year for holidays or travelling can help some flyers immensely.