Overcoming Flight Anxiety


Do you get overwhelmed with anxiety when you step on a plane? Me too. I have good news for you though, you can overcome it!

Despite the amount of travel that I do, I get anxiety every time I have to fly.  I didn’t always used to be this way.  Early on in my career I remember brimming with excitement at the thought of a business trip but the last 8 years have been quite different.  Nowadays, each time they close the doors to the plane I have to fight with all that is within me to not get up and try to run off the plane.  It’s like someone cut off the oxygen supply and I feel the world closing in around me, like I’m going to run out of air somehow.  

My anxiety stems from a fear of confinement that is completely irrational.  I discovered that most people who fear flying are claustrophobic or afraid of being locked in the plane and unable to get off. Usually people experience an unexpected panic and these panics typically emerge between the ages of 17 and 34 years old. This explains why I used to be able to fly with no problem before.

If this ever happens to you, you’re not alone. The common denominator of over 90% of flight phobics is the fear they will be overcome with anxiety during the flight.

I decided this was no way to live, so I perfected a regimen for calming my nerves, sans alcohol or prescription drugs that serves me well whenever anxiety strikes.

Here is my antidote for flight anxiety. I have followed it on countless flights and it has completely transformed air travel for me.

Flight Anxiety Antidote
1. I do not have any caffeine the day of a flight

2. I bring a book or magazine on board to distract my mind during takeoff & landing

3. I pack chamomile tea in my purse and order hot water as soon as beverages are offered. (Chamomile calms the nervous system)

4. I call my husband as soon as I board the flight and we pray together.

5. I pack a small vial of doterra lavender essential oil in my purse and dab a drop on my wrist prior to takeoff. I rub my wrists together and take 3 or 4 deep breaths of the lavender scent to calm my mind.

6. I carry Formula 303 in my purse, a homeopathic anxiety remedy which also helps with jet lag.  If it’s a long flight, I pick up Dramamine at any airport gift shop and take 1 tablet as soon as I board.

7. I avoid any adrenaline inducing TV shows or movies on the plane. Go for the comedy. Laughter is your friend for calming yourself down.

8. I take deep breaths in through my nose, holding my breath for one second on the inhale and exhaling through my mouth.

9. If anxiety starts to well up during the flight, usually that feels like a surge of adrenaline down the backs of my legs and then I start to feel hot.  I repeat the deep breathing and begin a self talk mantra.  Reminding myself that this is not real helps a lot.  I say things to myself like “I’m ok. This will pass”. I repeat it as many times as I need to in order to feel better. I also look to others to take the focus off of myself. If there are any happy children around, I try to remind myself how at ease they are and that helps me be at ease too.

10. I focus on life perspective.  Life is finite. We never know if today will be our last, but what’s the use in worrying about what is going to happen? At the very heart of anxiety is worry.  In most cases, it’s worry about illogical or false threats. For example, I worry I’ll be trapped on the plane when the door closes or that I’ll run out of oxygen.  I take my irrational fears and try to make them real by asking myself “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” What happens if my completely irrational fear comes true and I am trapped on this plane or I do run out of air? The worst case scenario is I die. Ok. Then I remind myself that I am not in control of when I will die, only God is.  He has ordered my steps and numbered the hairs on my head, he has a plan for my life. I can trust in that plan and my mantra I say to myself is “I trust you Jesus no matter what”.

Let’s recap.
You are not alone.
You are not crazy.
You can overcome anxiety without drugs or alcohol.

Here’s a simple way to implement your Anxiety Antidote.

1. Pin this article to your health and wellness board.
2. Pull up the pin on your phone the weekend before you leave for your trip.
3. Plan ahead and gather the items in steps 1-6.
4. Pull up the pin again once you board the plane.
5. Follow the steps.

Then sit back and enjoy your flight!

Welcome to Honey & Figs! I’m Lisa. I love helping people with practical ways to live more abundant lives based on my own experience. You can click here to find out more about me.

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Comments 3

  1. Hi Lisa. I love your new blog especially the name and the meaning behind it. It’s very inspirational and I’m proud of you for making something great out of your life and following God’s purpose in it. I pray it is a big success and God blesses you abundantly through it.

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  2. Pingback: How Nicaragua Helped Me Overcome Fear | Honey & Figs

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