Before your trip, read up or do a course or flying lesson. A bit of knowledge and experience can go a long way and prepare you for the real thing. Go in feeling more confident in yourself.
- Use your imagination to see yourself taking the trip from arriving at the airport, boarding, taking off and flying. The more you practice this before you go, the more less stimulated your brain will be when you do it for real.
- Share your concerns with those close to you. If you know your friends and family are aware of your fears, not only will they be more supportive, but the more at ease you’ll feel. Sharing concerns with those close to you and feeling understood will promote serotonin release and combat our fear.
- Practice attentional focus. If we practice shifting our attention before we set off, it’ll be easier when it comes to the real thing.
- At the airport, try not to drink alcohol, take anxiety medication, seek reassurance, look out for exits, hold your breath, or grip the seat tightly. All of these behaviors will make you think you’re more in control but will actually make you hyper vigilant and more aware of your anxiety, this in turn will increase it. Our body is linked to our brain and certain behaviors will signal our threat response and increase anxiety.
- On the plane: Stay out of your head – Introspection is not our friend when it comes to anxiety. You may feel the urge to get into a back and forth discussion in your mind about your safety or the plane, but the back and forth will just feed your imagination and not in a helpful way.
- Acknowledge your anxiety but don’t feed it. Anxiety is a physiological reaction and cannot sustain itself without fuel. Acknowledge it is there, make a conscious decision to not feed it and refocus your attention on something else.
- Have enjoyable activities. Flights can be boring, some don’t come with entertainment and we’re attempting to avoid the booze. So make sure you have something you can turn your attention to, be it a book, film, puzzle or work. Without an activity, your mind is more likely to drift back to focusing on our body. Puzzles and films release dopamine in the brain and allow us to be more focused on the task at hand.
- Connect with those around you. Even if you’re travelling alone, other people would be happy to chat with you. When we chat with people and connect with them we release oxytocin. Oxytocin is the ‘cuddle hormone’ which gives us a sense of closeness to others. This is a natural combatant of our stress hormone cortisol and will allow us to feel calmer for longer.
- Finally, remember the reason for your trip! You’re either on holiday or a business trip, but either way anxiety has no place and reminding yourself of why you’re setting off will help us focus on what is important and our anxiety is not helpful or important to us.
Culled from Express.co.uk