Five Simply Ways to Help You Relax While Flying


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Here are five simple ways to help you relax while flying. These come from Capt. Tom Bunn who is in my opinion the most qualified person to teach others on how to end a fear of flying.

He says himself that the below tips are just to get you started a “band aid” fix if you will. If you are serious about ending a fear of flying completely then you should read about the SOAR program by following the link at the end of the article.

Five Simply Ways to Help You Relax While Flying

Number One – The 5-4-3-2-1

Start by doing the 5-4-3-2-1 every five minutes. Then every fifteen minutes. Then every hour. It is nothing more than a focusing exercise, something to intensely occupy your mind so disturbing thoughts can’t take hold.

Sit or recline comfortably.

Focus on some object in front of you.

Keep your focus on that throughout the exercise.

If your eyes drift off, just bring them back. Do the exercise out loud first. Then, try it silently. See if one works better for you than the other.

Say “I see” and name something in your peripheral vision.

Say “I see” and name something else in your peripheral vision.

Continue until you have made five statements.

For example: I see the lamp, I see the table, I see a spot on the lamp shade, I see a book on the table, I see a picture on the table.

Say “I hear” and name something you hear.

Say “I hear” and name something else you hear.

Continue until you have made five statements.

NOTE: you will have to repeat something if there are not five different things you can hear.

Say “I feel” and name something you hear. (not internal, like heart pounding or tension, but external).

Say “I hear” and name something else you hear.

Continue until you have made five statements. For example: I feel the chair under me, I feel my arm against my leg, etc.

That completes one cycle. It takes intense concentration. That is exactly what you want.

As you concentrate on non-threatening things, the “fight or flight” hormones in your body when you started the exercise get burned off. As they are, you get more relaxed. You don’t make yourself relax. You use up the stress hormones to let yourself relax.

Start the next cycle, but make one change. If you always made five statements, you soon could do the exercise without intense concentration, and your mind could drift back to “bad” thoughts.

You can keep concentration intense by making one change each cycle. Instead of doing five statements again, do four statements. Then, in the following cycle, do three statements. Then, in the next cycle, do two statements.

Then, in the next cycle, do one statement.

Stop when you are as relaxed as you want to be. If you want to be more relaxed – or to fall asleep – continue by starting again at five statements. If you lose count, that is a good sign because it means you are getting relaxed, so relaxed that you are losing count.

Number Two – Worry Once

The first time you worry about a flight and imagine something going wrong, you probably are aware that you are engaging in imagination. So long as you know you are just imagining something, it isn’t hard to dismiss it.

But if you repeatedly imagine something going wrong, that thing you imagine becomes memorized. Once memorized, it comes to mind – not via imagination – but from memory. That makes it hard to dismiss. It seems factual. This makes it hard to dismiss as imagination, for after all, it isn’t imagination any more. By memorizing it, you gave it the same authority as something that has actually happened.

The best approach is preventative. Worry so masterfully the first time that you don’t need to revisit the issue. If you do keep coming back, quickly turn to the 5-4-3-2-1 to calm yourself. A calmer mind may be able to dismiss the subject.

Number Three – Rubber Band

This is therapist Jerilyn Ross’s invention. Wear a rubber band on your wrist. As soon as you are revisiting the problematic thought, snap the rubber band. After a few times, the sting of the rubber band will stand in the way of continued thought.

Number Four – Music Filters Out Plane Noises

Keep the “auditory channel” of your mind occupied. Bring along an audio player with plenty of music.

Number Five – Keep Visually Busy

Anxiety is primarily triggered by visual imagination. Though a sound may startle you, it is the visualization that you are up high that make the sound a problem. Keep the “visual channel” of your mind fully occupied with something concrete to keep imagination from gaining a foothold.

Buy several magazines with splashy color pictures. Just flip through the pictures to keep the “visual” part of your mind busy. This is a great time to focus on needlepoint or puzzles, if you like those activities. Or bring a DVD player, or a video game. Still bring magazines; you are not allowed to use the DVD player or video game during takeoff or landing.

The Jello Exercise

One of the reasons people fear flying is because they just cannot understand how an airplane can stay up in the sky safely all that time.

If your fear is that airplane might suddenly fall from the sky you have to read this article by Capt Tom Bunn. I guarantee just reading this will make you feel a whole lot safer while flying.

The Jello Exercise

At five miles-per-hour, you walk through air effortlessly. But as speed through air increases, air becomes radically different. On a bike, people who are not bike-racers reach their speed barrier at about twenty-five miles-per-hour. Going through air at five miles per-hour is effortless. Going through air at twenty-five miles per-hour requires maximum effort.

At fifty miles-per-hour in a car, if you put your hand out the window and push forward, it takes the same effort as putting your hand underwater in a swimming pool and pushing forward. This means fifty mile-per-hour air is as thick as water in a pool to the vehicle penetrating it.

At eighty miles per hour, air becomes as thick as oil or molasses. Take off speed for an airliner is between one hundred-twenty and two hundred miles per hour. At that speed – as far as the plane is concerned – air is like jello.

Imagine a plane to jello in front of you. A cube of pineapple is suspended in the jello. Pick up the plane and shake the jello. No matter how hard you shake it, you can’t make the pineapple come loose from the jello. Replace the pineapple with a toy airplane. Again, shake the jello.

As with the pineapple, there is nothing you can do to make the airplane plunge. The jello holding the toy airplane sits on a plate. The jello like air holding the real plane sits on the earth. Turbulence cannot break the hold of the jello. In jello-like air, there is no place to fall.

Once a plane reaches “jello-speed”, it has to go where it is pointed. Imagine you poke a shish kabob skewer into the jello behind the airplane.

Put the tips against the rear of the engines. When you apply force, you can make the toy plane cut forward through the jello. This is what happens in flight. Engines make the plane cut forward through the jello-like air. The plane can only go where it is pointed.

Next time you fly, as the plane accelerates down the runway, imagine the air getting thicker and thicker until it is like jello. Then, as the plane’s nose rises, imagine the plane being shoved forward through jello-like air. Throughout the flight, picture your plane held solidly in jello that is resting on the earth.

Watch Video – Capt. Tom Bunn Explain How You Can Quickly End a Fear of Flying

Yours truly,

Capt.Tom Bunn LCSW

Licensed therapist and airline captain Tom Bunn LCSW has specialized in the treatment of fear of flying since 1980. He founded SOAR to develop methods to deal with moderate and severe cases of flight phobia.

SOAR was established in 1982 because no programs existed that could
help people with moderate to severe difficulties. Even today, no other
program offers help that is effective except for mild difficulties. No
matter how difficult flying is for you, SOAR can help visit :

Click Here for SOAR official site

By Barry McDonagh, who is an international panic disorder coach. He created the Panic Away program to help people around the world deal with their anxiety and avoid panic attacks – a subject that he is personally attuned to because he himself found that he was prone to these issues since he was young. His hatred of his powerless lead him down the path of finding natural ways to treat himself without having to depend on expensive medications.

His informative site on all issues related to panic and anxiety attacks can be found here: Overcome Flight Phobia – Ways to Help You Relax While Flying

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