Travel Tips

Fear of Flying

June 8, 2016
fear of flying
Do you have a fear of flying?

Fear of flying, or known as aviophobia, has been noted to affect about 6.5 percent of the population; however, approximately 25 percent experience some form of nervousness when it comes to flying. [source: ABC News] My daughter has been flying ever since she was a baby, but it took one bad flight to set her in a pattern of overwhelming anxiety every time we fly. She was about 7 years old and we were flying back East. We were to change planes in Chicago, but there was a terrible lightning storm prohibiting us to land. While circling the airport above, my daughter told me she saw a tornado out her window. I didn’t see anything except for lightening and rain and assured her that everything was okay.

Several hours later, after having to fly and land in another city to refuel, we were able to land and deplane. The airport was officially closed so we scurried to book one of the last hotel rooms near the airport. During our taxi ride to the hotel, the driver proceeds to tell us that three tornados struck the city. Well, what do you know! My kid actually did see a tornado. It wasn’t until a couple years later that she began developing her anxiety about flying, and it took me some time to put the pieces together to figure out what was going on with her. Discovering she was terrified of lightning, as well as flying, helped me to conclude what I like to call the “Chicago Incident.”

So what have we done to help making flying more enjoyable for her and to tame the anxiety she experiences? Here are a few methods we’ve used that have been helpful:
  1. Get a good pair of headphones to listen to your favorite music – meditation music is perfect for calming the soul.
  2. Squeeze your hands into a tight fist a few times and release to help break up tension. Do this also with your face, butt, legs, and toes. You’ll be surprised at how a little more relaxed you’ll feel.
  3. Try EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). This technique requires taking your fingers and tapping on various acupressure points of your body creating a shift that will help release the anxiety you’re experiencing.
  4. Keep busy! Distraction is always a good thing – play a video game, read, color (get one of those stress-free coloring books), and/or watch your favorite movie.
  5. Practice deep breathing. Focus on your breathing by slowing it down so you can gain control and become less anxious. Adding a little visualization to this is also extremely helpful. Visualize your destination and that you’re already there and doing something fun while taking deep breaths.
  6. After you’ve done all the above and depending on the length of your flight, utilize some of that time to take a nap. Great thing about sleeping is that you may find yourself waking up when it’s time to land; feeling refreshed and ready to have a great time.

Gotta give credit to the photo above of Kristen Wiig in the movie Bridesmaids. This is a classic comical scene of Kristen’s character having a fear of flying and doing all the wrong things to overcome it.

What do you do to help your fear of flying? Please share in the comments below.

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