So although it doesn’t make a lot of sense, for the past year or so it had felt like my fear of flying was increasing at the same rate as my travel. And although I can rationally tell myself that I’m more likely to die on my way to the airport, I still say a full round of prayers every time the plane lifts off. As good as it is to pray often, every flight being a religious experience is less than ideal. I was so happy to find that Virgin Atlantic’s “Flying Without Fear” app actually helped me a lot.
There is a 10-minute video “in-flight explanation” where a Virgin pilot explains how flight works, but even more helpful was the quiz you take about what specifically you are afraid of. The app takes that data and gives you a “program” of daily “homework” leading up to your next flight where you listen to a series of “courses” such as “what if one engine catches fire?” and “why do I feel like I am falling after takeoff” where I actually learned a few things here and there. But more than that I think it helps to break down your fear into little specific things rather than one giant fear. Then there are some breathing and mediative exercices that came to mind during a recent flight. I would highly recommend this app.
My other major tip for flying is to reduce general anxiety about traveling in general. I think I’m usually super exhausted and strung-out running around like crazy tackling my to-do list, trying not to forget something and then scrambling to get to the airport on time that I’m one big ball of anxiety when I finally make it to the gang plank… and that doesn’t help either. I recently made a packing list that I now print out and check-off for each trip. Combined with an always-stocked, separate set of cosmetics, I now feel like I can rest easy knowing I didn’t forget anything. And on top of that I try to pack (and even zip the bag) a few days ahead of time to further reduce day-of-travel rush.
Finally, my anxiety centered around the long flights to and from the States whereas short pedal-hoppers (the ones that are more dangerous) don’t worry me at all, which got me to thinking that maybe what I’m really afraid of is being so far from either my home or loved ones. And pulling that issue out of the larger fear of flying has helped some, too.
Am I the only other white-knuckling flyer out there? What do you do to cope?