For the last few weeks, it’s been all about managing my husbands fear of flying.  How ironic is it that someone who loves to travel married someone who has a panic attack just at the thought of getting on a plane.  When we first got together, he covered up his fear of flying well.  We went to Spain and other parts of Europe, and you never would have known he was worried about getting on a plane.  He had a very good game face.

In recent years, the truth slipped out and it turns out my husbands fear of flying is a real problem.  If we are taking a trip that involves getting on a plane, we have to prepare for it, so that he can manage his anxiety and control his panic attacks.  Tomorrow he is flying to Arizona, which means 11 hours on a long haul flight.  While he is away he will be taking an internal flight from Arizona to Seattle, and then flying back home to Heathrow.  That’s a lot of flying in a little short of a week for someone who really doesn’t like flying.

When he was booking the flights, I felt like I’d been to Arizona and back with him.  He has been getting into a bit of a flap about this trip to say the least.  The issue is the amount of time he’s going to be flying.  That seems to have really effected his anxiety levels for this trip.  I feel so incredibly sorry for him as if I was heading to Arizona I would be so excited.  This is a work trip and an incredible opportunity for him, but it’s being over shadowed by this fear of flying.

My husband describes his fear of flying as completely irrational, but it also seems very overwhelming.  He used to ride a motorbike, which in my mind is far more dangerous than flying, but for him getting on a plane is the ultimate nightmare.  We’ve been working hard these last few weeks to reduce his anxiety and control his panic attacks, and I thought I’d share our tips as a fear of flying effects at least 1 in 10 people, possibly more.

Speak To Your Doctor About Your Fear Of Flying

When we first realised that a fear of flying was a real problem for my husband, the first thing we did was got him an appointment with the Doctor.  He is issued with a prescription when he flies to help manage his anxiety.  It helps for the duration of the flight, but they aren’t prescribed for taking in the weeks or days leading up to the trip.

Stop Drinking Caffeine

My husband is partial to the odd cup of coffee.  He’s also a fan of energy drinks.  For lots of reasons I think he should limit the intake of these kind of drinks, but even more so when his stress levels are rising.  Caffeine raises the amount of adrenaline in the blood stream, which can increase how we react to stressful situations.  To reduce the impact, severity and duration of his panic attacks he has stopped drinking caffeine and energy drinks.   It also means that his medication will be effective for the duration of the trip.

Increase Your Activity Levels

Increasing the amount of exercise you do can help to manage your stress levels and reduce the likelihood of a panic attack.  Even a walk during a panic attack can help to bring the situation under control more quickly.  You might be restricted in how much you can walk on a plane, but make sure you burn off as much nervous energy as you can before you get on.

Herbal Remedies

If you are being effected by your fear of flying in the run up to your trip, you may want to explore using a herbal remedy.  There are plenty of tablets and teas available that help manage stress and anxiety that you can buy in the health food shop or even the supermarket.  If you do decide to take a herbal remedy always read the advice on the packet carefully and follow the correct dosage.

Meditation

Using meditation, breathing techniques and positive self talk are all going to help you overcome your fear of flying.  It’s about adding as many things to the list of strategies as you can to help you  cope with the situation.  Visualisation techniques can have a massive impact on helping you cope with a fear of flying, and can help you feel in control of the situation before the onset of a panic attack.

A fear of flying requires lots of different strategies to overcome it, and I’m confident that my husband will arrive in Arizona in one piece after all the hard work he’s put into dealing with this.  We aren’t big believers in quick fixes, but we are confident that applying these strategies consistently will help him become a more confident flyer in time.

If you are flying with kids and one of the parents has a fear of flying, you might want to add in a few more strategies to cope with the situation.  When we fly as a family, I tend to look after entertaining the kids.  You might also like to read these awesome tips for keeping the kids busy on long haul flights from Family Off Duty to make for a stress free flight.

How do you feel about flying?  How do you cope when you get nervous?

18 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this. I haven’t flown too often and tend to get quite anxious about it. Caffeine can definitely make my anxiety worse!

  2. I don’t mind flying on a larger plane I don’t like little ones. Once we’ve got past the take off I’m fine it doesn’t bother me how long the flight is. I can completely understand people being scared of flying. I’ve watched a few too many aircraft investigations.

  3. these are great tips! I sometimes get scared about flying and the meditation and herbal remedies may be a good support 🙂

  4. Some great tips here 🙂 I to have a fear of flying and I have never been on a plane I would love too and I wouldn’t want my fear to rub off on my children x

  5. I feel for him, its anxiety that can be totally irrational but still very real none-the-less. I hope he manages to overcome his fears so that it makes travel more enjoyable going forward

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