Learning about flying helped to ease this fearful fliers anxiety.(Photo: Buena Vista Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images)
Is it possible to turn fear into fun? Is it possible? It’s something I never contemplated until I had to shake the worst fear I’d ever encountered, a fear of flying. The feeling was raw and real, created during a Qantas flight from California to Australia when I looked out my window and the engine was engulfed in flames after a turbine went through the side of the engine over the ocean. After that incident, I suffered from severe anxiety before I flew, while I flew, and even at the thought of flying, resulting in an overwhelming sense of fear.
After trying endless methods to help ease the anxiety, I ultimately overcame my fear by learning about flying, changing my focus from fear to fun and helping others to overcome their fear. I started a Twitter handle called @MakeFlyingFun to give people a place to read tips on how to overcome their fear of flying and ways to make the experience fun, and to share their own stories of how they have fun when hitting the sky.
Here are some of the tips shared on Make Flying Fun to help travelers feel safe when flying and make the experience more enjoyable:
Talking with the pilot is a great way to calm your nerves before a flight. (Photo: Vladimir Maravic/Vetta/Getty Images)
Speak to a Pilot
Make a list of all the things that make you nervous when flying, and then sit down with a pilot. Go through the list one by one and talk about why each item can happen and why passengers are never at risk. I felt a lot more at ease after I understood the mechanics of what made me nervous and why planes are the safest way to travel.
Try hypnosis to ease your flight anxiety. (Photo: Kaspiic/Thinkstock)
After two years of terrible anxiety, I decided to see a hypnotherapist because I was about to start a new job in which I would fly multiple times a week. Hypnotherapists teach powerful tricks for calming the mind and letting you feel safe when flying. In my case, I had to do only one session and it changed my life and experience flying, forever.
Pick a Mantra
Find a mantra that helps you feel calm. By focusing on it, the mind will feel more at ease and empowered. Here are a few different examples of what I have used for mantras:
- Flying is just like riding a boat. The bumps are just like waves in the ocean. Imagine being on a boat by a beautiful island …
- Feel the fear and take the flight anyway. I want to travel and see the world. I am unlimited and can do anything I put my mind to, anything.
Bring your own in-flight entertainment. (Photo: i love images/Cultura/Getty Images)
Arrive Equipped to Have Fun
My carry-on is filled with everything I love, or at least as much that I love as I can fit into it. Here’s what’s in my bag:
- Every magazine from the Hudson News stand, literally every single one. Flying is the only time I allow myself to read gossip magazines!
- Rold Gold Pretzels. If I had to choose a last meal before I died, it would be Rold Gold Pretzels.
- iPhone stocked with music that makes me feel happy or calm. Sometimes I listen to a podcast too.
- Noise-canceling headphones. My go-to on domestic flights is Skullcandy ear buds.
Intend to Have Fun, and State It Aloud
The night before and the morning of the flight, state your intentions for the experience. Here’s what I use: “I will have fun on the flight to New York. I will do everything to make it more fun, and I know that I can relax because flying is the safest way to travel.”
President Barack Obama visits China. (Photo: The White House/Getty Images News/Getty Images)
Use Your Imagination to Your Advantage
If for some reason I’m feeling a little on edge before I fly, I go to my backup option and I tell myself that I’m someone who has to fly a lot. Sometimes I’ll tell myself I’m Barack Obama, Lady Gaga, or Beyoncé — typically someone fabulous (why not?) who literally flies a few times a week. If they can do it, I can do it.
Feel empowered to overcome your fear and make flying fun. Life is short, so use the experience to learn, overcome life’s greatest challenges, and see the world … one flight at a time! With each trip, you can share your story with @MakeFlyingFun on Twitter to tell others how you have overcome your fear and make the experience fun.
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