I, personally, LOVE to travel. Something about packing up, jumping on a plane, seeing the world from tens of thousands of feet up, and exploring a brand new place absolutely thrills me; there is nothing else like it in the world. Many people do not share this same enthusiasm. And some, like a good friend of mine, love to experience new places, but hate the whole traveling by plane part of the adventure.
Not wanting to miss out on travel due to a debilitating fear of flying, my friend explored many different relaxation techniques to employ during that portion of the trip, and I am going to share them with you (gripping arm handles and strangers’ arms was tested, but not advised).
The first technique tried is known as Autogenic relaxation.
This means you are teaching your body to respond to commands you give it. Generally, this is in the form of words or phrase repeated to yourself and focusing on consciously controlling the calming of your body. My friend had mediocre results with this method. According to them, this technique is better than in practice for them, personally. Telling your body not to be petrified is more easily said than done.
The second technique tried is often referred to as progressive muscle relaxation.
This is where you focus on tensing and then relaxing one group of muscles at a time, eventually relaxing your entire body. This both distracts you from the situation at hand and relaxes you at the same time. This method was more beneficial for my friend. A multitude of other techniques involved deep breathing, meditation, visualizing a “happy place,” etc. Ultimately what helped my friend the most was putting in some ear buds, gripping the arm rests, and praying for a safe landing. Whatever method chosen, the experience of traveling and exploring is well worth the short (albeit terrifying) flight.