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Have a peaceful flight: mindfulness for fear of flying

26.6.2017 at 06:00
The next time you fly, try a mindfulness exercise to calm your nerves.

If merely the thought of boarding a plane makes your palms sweat, you are not alone: according to FlyFright, as many as 1 in 3 of Americans admit they are scared of flying.

There is plenty of help available for those who want to overcome their anxiety. Many benefit from taking a Passenger’s Safety Information Course, offered in Finland by Finnair. If you’d like to try a lighter approach, give mindfulness a go.

Mindfulness is a popular tool used by clinical psychologists around the world to help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as increase focus – perfect for those scared of flying.

“One of the ideas of mindfulness is to start observing our own thoughts and emotions, rather than let yourself drown in them,” says Eeva Jaakonsalo, a mindfulness Instructor at Andas. “It’s important to recognize that they are not objective facts, but our interpretations of the situation. If flying scares you, it can help to list and label what your are experiencing: this is worry, this is fear, and so on. Processing your thoughts and emotions in this way helps to distance who you are as a person from what you are experiencing.” If this seems easy, you can try observing the reactions of your body, too: how are your lungs reacting to the situation, how about your legs?

Jaakonsalo recommends a number of downloadable mindfulness apps that you can take with you on the trip:

1. Buddhify

Allows you to choose the mindfulness exercise based on the situation that you’re in, from waiting around to traveling and difficult emotions. Available for both iOS and Android.

2. Calm

Has a section that focuses on sleep – handy when you struggle with catching some Zs the night before the flight. Available for iOS and Android.

3. Headspace

Favoured by actress Emma Watson, this app has a free 10 session, each 10 minutes long, programme. Available for both iOS and Android.

Read more about fear of flying