Natural Ways to Cope with Flying Anxiety

Are you afraid to fly? Even mildflying anxiety can put a damper on an otherwise fun adventure. These are the tricks that have helped me get my ownfear of flying under control.

I suffer from mild to moderateflying anxiety. My fear of flying isn’t debilitating, but it definitely colors every plane trip that I take. I have legitimately grabbed the arm of a stranger next to me during a pocket of turbulence. Awkward!

But with familyliving all over the world andwork trips that I can’t turn down,I’ve had to face my fears and get ona lot of planes. The tips below are things that have helped me out, and I hope that they help you, too.

Are you afraid to fly? Even mild flying anxiety can put a damper on an otherwise fun adventure. These are the tricks that have helped me get my own airplane anxiety under control.

Flying Anxiety Remedies

1. Make yourself fly (if you can).

This is an expensive tactic, but it really can help. I’m not suggesting that you book a $500 plane ticket just for kicks, butnext time a travel opportunity comes up,say yes, if it’s within your budget to do so. The rest of the tricks on this list are fortheday or so leading up to the trip and your actual time on the plane.

2.Before you fly,prepare.

Some simpleanxiety-reducing activitiesin the day or so leading up to your trip can make a big difference.

Work out the day of or the day before your trip. Get those wiggles out with a walk, a run, or by lifting weights. Wearing out your body helps release some of that nervous energy that feedsflyinganxiety.

The day of your flight, skip your morning coffee, if you can. If you need a little caffeine boost, go for something more mild, like green tea. Caffeineexacerbates anxiety,so look forward to a coffee at your destination instead.

3. Eat something.

When you’re nervous, it’s easy to forget to eat, so make a point to eat shortly before you leave for the airport, even if you don’t feel super hungry. Also make sure you have packed plenty of plane-friendly snacks, because it’s harder to think rationally when you’re hungry.

If youforget your snacks and don’t want to spend a ton of money,ask the flight attendant if you can get an extra bag of pretzels or almonds. They usually say yes. You can also order a tomato juice and tell yourself that it’s gazpacho. I know, it’s not gazpacho, but sometimes we just need to make it work.

4. Distract yourself.

This is the most important step, in my opinion, especially during the parts of the flight that you’re dreading most. Find a distraction tactic that works well for you! It could be reading, coloringor writing in a journal.

My technique is to put a loud, funny podcast on my headphones and play solitaire or some other mindless, absorbing game on my phone. I also pay for in-flight texting to keep myself occupied (more on that below).Basically, I overload my senses to drown out the screaming voice in my headtelling me that it’s time to be terrified.

5. Reframe your thinking.

I know: this is easier said than done, but it really can help! Last time I had alongflight, I texted my sister, Amanda, to distract myself.Her reply changed my life. This is a screenshot of our actual text exchange:

flying anxiety text

It might seem silly, but thinking of turbulence as a dance party worked wonders. This five-hour flight wasbumpy almost the whole time, and even thinking about the words “Sky Dance Party” helped, becausethey make me laugh.

6. Breathe.

Jane Fondais wise. “Don’t forget to breathe,” is great advice during a jazzercise workout, and itis an excellent remedy for flying anxiety, too!

Try these anxiety-busting breathing techniques to get your heart rate down and take your mind off of choppy air. The 4-7-8 breathing is my go-to, because the counting gives my brain something to dobesides come up withmade-up ways that the plane could fall out of the sky.

Of course, not everyone can just take deep breaths or text a friendto get flying anxiety under control. If you have severeanxiety about flying,this bag of tricks might not work for you. Talk to your doctor if your flying anxiety is truly debilitating. She can refer you to a therapist or suggest medication to help take the edge off.

Have you found othertechniques that help you push your fears aside and board that plane?

Images via Thinkstock.


Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

Thank you for posting

joan silaco
joan s8 months ago


Marge F
Marge F8 months ago

Thank you for posting this interesting article.

Heather H
Heather H8 months ago

Thanks for the tips. I still may never fly. I don't think I can. If I ever do I will remember these tips. Music on my phone and texting would be good distractions for me.

Leanne K
Leanne K8 months ago

I chose not to do the first daily action, Care2. It seemed geared to American citizens. I did however do the second option, this.

Richard A
Richard A8 months ago

Thank you for this article and tips.

Marianne R
Marianne R8 months ago

Thank you!

Mary T
Mary T8 months ago

thanks for sharing...but I still wont fly...prefer to drive wherever I have to go

Mike H
Mike H8 months ago

I worry that my arms will wear out

Julia S
Julia S8 months ago

Thank you!