Planes, trains and automobiles. Besides being a great movie (so I’ve heard. I’ve yet to test that theory), this list is also ranked properly into the mode of transportation I have the most amount of anxiety over, to the least amount.
The first time I rode on an airplane, it was on a family vacation to California and Oregon to attend a church wide conference. My entire family went and it was a long flight. So long, in fact, that there was an in-flight movie. While I don’t remember what the movie was, I’m forever grateful to the guy sitting next to me for letting me borrow his listening device (I’m pretty sure this was before they started charging for headsets).
Strangely enough when we took off, I was excited and not at all scared, even though I do have a fear of heights (adding this to the list brings up closer to approximately 25 irrational fears that i have. Huzzah! 😛 ) I was nervous, but was fascinated as we ascended above the clouds. I don’t remember the return trip, but imagine it was just as mesmerizing.
Years passed before I took another flight. This time around I was acutely aware of what could go wrong. Mainly the risk of crashing since hijacking on board had all but disappeared. I had to fly back and forth when I was in college, so I developed some ways to keep the anxiety over disaster at bay.
1. Take a fun book with you and read it during take off and landing. If on a short flight, try to read the entire time. This is the current book I am reading and I intend to take it with me the next time I fly, just to get a reaction from the crew:
Get it? I’ll be flying and reading this book about flying….. 😀
2. Bring your Bible aboard or a small devotional. When you are anxious about flying, reading a Bible verse (I recommend the book of Psalms) can help to focus your attention and calm your nerves. There are several devotional books I recommend: My favorite is Our Daily Bread. It’s small enough to fit in your purse or carry-on, and one book contains a year of devotional entries. ODB also has an app you can download if you have limited space and a smart phone. The link to the app can be found at the website linked above. Another devotional type book is any Chicken Soup For the Soul book. While not specifically spiritual in nature, the book series offers inspirational stories to get your mind off of flying.
3. Pray. Ask Jesus to give you a smooth flight. And to calm your nerves and give you peace.
4. While you are praying, or instead of prayer, utilize deep breathing. Concentrate on each breath. Making sure each one is full and deep.
5. If you know you are a nervous flyer, As soon as you board, notify the crew. One of their jobs is to make sure you have a smooth flight. Knowing you are a nervous flyer, they’ll be able to focus on your comfort and make sure you have an enjoyable flight.
6. Lastly, if you are disabled, call ahead when you book your flight and let the airline know if you’ll need special assistance. In my years of flying I’ve found this to be especially useful in helping me to arrive at any connecting flight on time. I usually have a ground crew member meet me at the plane to help push me to my connecting gate. This is especially helpful in big airports where connecting gates are usually quite far from where flights land. Be aware of this if you are flying into the following large airports: Chicago O’Hare, Detroit, and Denver International.
Nervous flying is rough. Hopefully you’ll find these tips helpful. Remember, you are not alone!
*Turtle flying over a blanket of cauliflower or turtle injected with helium flying over clouds? You decide! Image appears courtesy of: http://funnyasduck.net/post/6078