It’s important to remind yourself and know that you’re not alone.
Traveling with anxiety can feel like you’re the only one going through these negative emotions with no one to turn to. In crowded terminals or platforms, it’s common to feel even more alone with zero familiar faces around. Although these times of panic can seem scary, it’s important to remind yourself and know that you’re not alone.
These travelers share their advice how they bring their anxiety levels down on flights in hopes that sharing their experiences brings comfort to others going through the same feelings.
1. “I keep busy by watching a ton of downloaded Netflix shows.”
Sammie S, 20
“I recently went to Texas and I do a lot of things to keep my mind distracted because that’s the key thing. If I let my mind wander into remembering my fear of flying than it goes downhill. So, I keep busy by watching a ton of downloaded Netflix shows or movies. It definitely helps because I’m focused on what’s going on in the show or movie. Another thing that I have found recently that is helpful is playing with play dough. I know it sounds silly and childish, but it helps keep my hands busy and has a relaxing, calming effect similar to stress balls. I also have found that having conversations with people on planes helps me forget that I’m on the plane in the first place!”
2. “I create a routine.”
Opal C, 49
“When I go visit my daughter and grandson in Florida, I fly every time and I make sure I have the same routine while flying. I will watch movies or sleep during flights and when we’re taking off or landing, I don’t look out the window because that gives me the most anxiety on flights. For me, I create a routine and I think it’s important to have a routine down every time you fly. My routine helps me stay organized and it’s familiar to me. Watching movies and sleeping are the two things I make sure I do to pass the time in the air.”
3. “Close my eyes and rest.”
Judy S, 64
“I remain pretty calm on flights by thinking about getting to my destination. The part of flying that stresses me isn’t the flying part. The thing that stresses me out is when there are long delays or physical problems with the plane, so it’s the stuff I don’t have control over. When I do get nervous, I watch a movie or close my eyes and rest, because it helps me put my attention towards something else and think more positively. On the long trips that I’ve had, like when I was flying to China, I got anxious because I wanted it to be over so I could get to my destination. For that trip I was really impatient. But I usually don’t get too stressed because I know it’s better to think positively during traveling.”
4. “I go straight through security.”
Timmy W, 20
“When I get to the airport, I go straight through security so that I know I will make it to my flights on time. The only time I get stressed when I’m traveling is when I’m going to be late or when I have somewhere to be at a certain time. I hate being late and always try to make sure I’m early. For me, the worst part about flying is taking off and landing and the past couple of times that I have flown I have experienced a lot of turbulence. I know that because of this, looking out the window won’t help me, so I always try to sit on the aisle seat. On the flight, I always make sure I listen to music too and have a book to read. Talking to the flight attendant during the flight helps me too because I love talking to people.”
5. “I like to listen to music, especially classic rock.”
Chris M, 25
“I get really anxious when I travel. I often lose appetite when I’m nervous and I don’t like to eat because I feel nauseous. I really hate the traveling part of traveling; I just want to get to destination and where I’m going, so that part bothers me. Sometimes the airports make me feel uncomfortable and coped up even though I know it’s very safe. To combat my anxiety, I like to listen to music, especially classic rock. I love The Eagles and listening to them is something familiar. It takes me back to my “ground state” if that makes sense. For me, I know I have to deal with it and traveling works as a vehicle to where I need to be. I just have to do it and everyone else has to do it too.”
6. “I tell myself, “Everything is ok,” and “you’re fine.”
Danny B, 28
“I get nervous because sometimes I think of what could happen, but I try not to think that way. I try to think positively because I know those bad things won’t really happen. I tell myself, “Everything is ok,” and “you’re fine” and positive things like that. I try not to think about it by also listening to music and falling asleep. I also try to stand when I’m in the plane because I don’t like sitting in the narrow plane seat. If I don’t have a window seat, then I stand in the back and people watch. It’s entertaining and it passes the time. Standing is more comfortable for me than sitting in a little plane seat. Usually, I go for an aisle or window seat, but if I don’t, then that’s when I go. I go stand in the back for 10 or 15 minutes.”