You’ve tried to reason with yourself, but there’s nothing you can do: you’re terrified of flying. Some pro tips to help you calm down.
We keep telling you every time you talk about your irrational fear of flying: “It is the safest means of transport”. An argument that does not fly in your mind – as in that of nearly 20% of travelers, if we are to believe the figures of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). And yet, according to Paolo Chaves, steward and sophrologist for Air France, it is quite possible to control your anxieties. Manual.
Anticipating your fear
Paolo Chaves is categorical: the bulk of the work is done before the start. “It is imperative to prepare psychologically to avoid panic on the day of the flight“. To do this, he advises anticipating stress, bypassing catastrophic scenarios each time they arise and concentrating on the different things that we will be able to do and discover on the spot rather than on the route. “OK I’m leaving. But to visit such and such a museum, bathe on such and such a beach, taste such and such a local specialty… This is what will allow the phobic person to put things into perspective“says the professional.
Prepare your trip well in advance
On the practical side, it also banishes the last minute. You avoid packing your luggage the day before departure, arriving at the airport in a hurry, not knowing where your identity papers are stored… In order to “reduce stress and not add to the fear of taking the plane, that of potentially missing it“.
Wear a comfortable outfit
Priority to comfort! We put on loose clothes, such as jogging or leggings and we appropriate our seat in order to feel safe. The sophrologist even recommends coming with your own pillow or blanket to better “put yourself in your bubbleand thus travel more serenely.
During the flight
Take care of the mind
“The key to forgetting your anxieties is to focus your attention on something else“, he reveals. During the flight, we will therefore occupy the mind. On the program: colouring, music, video or nap. That way, there’s no time to stress!
Introduce yourself to the cabin crew
“Prevention is better than curesays the proverb. An adage approved by Paolo Chaves, who advises to establish contact with the staff on board, so that they can reassure you, comfort you or accompany you. “It’s also their jobhe exclaims. In some cases, if the plane is not full, the cabin crew may also change your seat to be more comfortable. So it’s worth a try.
To breathe !
You are on board. The warning light for your seat belt is displayed. Your heart speeds up, your forehead is dripping, your hands are sweaty… You almost have an anxiety attack. “To remedy this state of panic, it is imperative to control your breath”, recommends the sophrologist. To do this, he recommends an abdominal breathing exercise. Hand on navel, close eyes. Then count the times of inspiration and expiration. Inhale for a few seconds, exhale for double the seconds. Repeat the exercise until you feel better. Staying focused on your breathing allows the brain to forget the reasons for its anxiety,” says the specialist, who also advises downloading the Mind or Petit Bambou applications (both available on Apple and Android).
After the flight
For phobics, a plane ride can be psychologically exhausting. Paolo Chaves therefore recommends a fairly long recovery time to allow the body to relax. He advises, for example, not to plan too many activities on the day of his arrival.
Anticipating his return
Barely on your vacation spot, impossible to enjoy, you are already anxious at the idea of having to board your return flight… “As for the outward journey, we will have to prepare ourselves again psychologicallyasks the professional, who orders to stay focused on the good times, on the pleasant feelings and on the positive. Breathe, breathe… Breathe, breathe…
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