Are you terrified of flying? I feel you. When I was 14 my mother had to literally force me on the plane we were boarding. I would literally feel sick just thinking about walking onto a plane and my stomach would immediately be in knots. Traveling always makes my anxiety worse, but after MANY years, I have figured out how to manage it pretty well. Are you ready to feel better and see the world? Here are my top 4 tips for flying with anxiety!
#1. Fly with a friend.
Of course, my husband is always my travel partner-in-crime, but if you can fly with a friend you are gonna feel so much more comfortable. Also, letting your flying partner know how you’re feeling can help them, help you! My husband always knows I’m going to be squeezing his hand on take off. 😉 Once we are in the air, I’m good to go! Taking off is the time when I’m always most afraid and my thoughts really go wild.
#2. Know why you are afraid.
Think about why you are afraid of flying – like really get into it – what is the real reason you’re afraid of flying? I think for most people it’s really not a matter of a fear of flying but a fear of something else (dying, crashing, etc.). Or maybe you don’t like that you are not in control of yourself – that’s what it is for me! Once you establish the WHY of your fear, then you can figure out the HOW of treating yourself and talk yourself down.
#3. Positive thoughts only.
This may sound kooky to you, but one of the best tips I’ve ever read about anxiety was a tip to use when you’re having a panic attack. It honestly is the only thing that has ever worked for me! Really get into your mind and realize what is happening. Realize that you are panicking and that you are actually okay.
The first question to ask yourself is “am I safe right now?” The answer is yes! Flying is a perfectly safe mode of travel.
The second question is “in this moment, am I actually okay right now?” The answer is yes. You are perfectly healthy and okay.
I’ve used this tool so many times when traveling and in my daily life also!
#4. Think about your destination!
Sometimes it helps me to picture my destination and think of all the fun things we’ll do there. OR picture my sweet Husky giving me kisses when I pick her up! I know the mode of travel I have to take is flying to get back to her, so it gives me the positive path I need to take my thoughts through when it comes time to board the plane!
Remember – thoughts become feelings which become actions. If you are freaking out in your head, you will freak out physically also!
#5. Ask for help.
There is absolutely NO SHAME in asking for help. I went to the doctor and asked for medication to help me. I know many people are anti-medication and I used to be one of them. However, I also suffered needlessly for years. I had a very real, honest conversation with my doctor. I told her I didn’t want to be completely knocked out, and I didn’t want to be a zombie, but I also didn’t want to be pacing the aisles freaking out! She helped me find the perfect medication for me. It worked great when we flew to France. I was cool as a cucumber, but I wasn’t a zombie. (When I first got put on medication this was one of my huge fears!)
You got this!
These are just some of the tools I have used for flying with anxiety, and I hope they help you. I do still get nervous, but compared to how awful I felt before – well, let’s just say it feels like a walk in the park now! YOU CAN DO THIS.