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Do you fear flying? 4 ways to reduce anxiety on your next plane trip

They say there’s no place like home, but if you’ve moved, you may have to get on a plane to get there. Even if your old stomping grounds are within driving distance, flying opens the door for you to take new adventures and see the world.

Traveling can relieve stress and make you more creative. That may sound great in theory, but having a fear of flying can prevent you from seeing family and friends or reaping the benefits of exploring the region or world.

COVID notwithstanding, flying anxiety is common. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that 20% of the people say they have a fear of air travel that affects their work and social lives.

Your fears don’t have to prevent you from enjoying your life to the fullest. Try these four tips to ease air travel anxieties.

airplane wing in the air over clouds
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Take a red-eye

“Red-eye flight” is often a dirty phrase. The flights take off at night and land the next day, often in the morning. They can be tiring. Red-eyes can also be the trick to managing flying anxiety. On a red-eye flight, the lights will often dim, and other passengers will usually go to sleep or engage in quiet reading, making it a more peaceful experience. As a result, you can sleep through the whole experience. By using the trip to catch some shut-eye, you’ll miss most of the experience and won’t find yourself ruminating on your anxieties.

Avoid alcohol

A glass of red wine here and there may be a way to wind down after a workday, but you may want to steer clear of it while flying. The low air pressure inside the plane’s cabin can lower the amount of oxygen in your blood and your brain. Consequently, you may feel lightheaded and intoxicated after a drink, regardless of your usual tolerance. Feeling sick and stressed at the same time is never fun, nor is having to nurse a hangover when you land. Some airlines have banned it during the pandemic, anyway, and it almost always costs more. Save your money and splurge on a fun, stress-busting experience at your destination, like a massage at a resort spa.

Try meditation and deep breathing

We often think of meditation as something done in a quiet room, alone, and with the lights dimmed. However, focusing on your breath in challenging situations can be incredibly soothing. Some Navy SEALS, who face some of the most high-stress conditions of any profession, use box breathing to center themselves. The method involves:

  • Inhaling for four counts
  • Holding the breath for four counts
  • Exhaling for four counts
  • Holding the breath again for four counts.

You can also try visualization techniques, such as breathing slowly while you picture yourself having fun at your intended destination. If you’re new to meditation, you might want to try it out in a quiet space in the weeks leading up to your trip, so you have a good baseline to work with in-flight.

a couple waiting outside of an airport
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Bring a friend

If you’re planning to fly to your hometown by yourself to see family, you might want to see if a trusted friend can come, too. Not only is bringing a friend along a fun way to show your pal where you grew up, but it’s also built-in moral support. Let your friend know you’re feeling nervous about the flight, and discuss what will help you alleviate your fears. Maybe grabbing your hand during take-off will help you feel supported, or chatting during the flight will keep your mind off your worries.

Visiting family and old friends or discovering new places is rewarding and may make you happy. A fear of flying can get in the way, though. These fears are common but often fixable. One of the best ways to overcome fears is facing them head-on, even though that’s scary and challenging. By taking a flight and coping with your anxieties, you’ll prove to yourself that you can do it and that flying is safe. It will build confidence for your next adventure.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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BethAnn Mayer
Beth Ann's work has appeared on and In her spare time, you can find her running (either marathons…
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