top of page

Head in the Clouds

by Amille Bottom

photography courtesy of Pexels

Flying: it’s something kids dream of doing every day, but when the time actually comes to climb inside an airplane and take to the sky, it can be scary. While it is not often discussed, a fear of flying is perfectly normal. In fact, according to Time magazine, the estimated prevalence of aviophobia, or the fear of flying, ranges “from 2.5% to 6.5% of the population.”

In an interview with Time magazine, Todd Farchione, the director of Boston University’s Intensive Treatment Program for Panic Disorder and Specific Phobias, stated that many people have a fear of flying because of “the lack of control they have in the situation.”

“When the doors close, they’re in it. They’re stuck. They can’t get out of the situation. I think that’s often what’s most frightening for most people,” Farchione explained.

So, what can one do when they experience the fear of flying? The Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends that one familiarizes themself with facts about flying, stating that “they will not eliminate your anxiety, but they will help you manage it.” A key part of this process is separating anxious and nervous thoughts from the presence of actual hazards, as “feeling anxious doesn’t mean you are in danger.”

If simply reminding the mind of the lack of actual danger isn’t effective, there are numerous apps that make meditation simple for travelers. Headspace is a revolutionary meditation app that The New Yorker dubbed “enlightenment on your iPhone.” The app is composed of various meditations, ranging from opening the mind to difficult conversations, coping with depression and, of course, travel. The most helpful meditations for the nervous traveler on this app include “Commuting,” “Vacation,” “Business Travel,” “Panicking” and “Feeling Overwhelmed.” If Headspace doesn’t suit the needs of an individual, other popular mindfulness apps include 7 Cups, Pacifica and Moodpath.

Another great way to decrease feelings of anxiety on-the-go is by logging the various emotions one is feeling in a journal. If carrying around physical pens and paper isn’t convenient, the Moodnotes app is the perfect way to sort out one’s emotions while traveling. The app allows a person to create a visual log of their emotions, and then offers resolutions to the negative feelings by reminding the user of the positive. By associating which emotions are strongest, one can more effectively find the root of their anxiety and panic and then work to diminish the strength of those emotions.

While the resources located in technology are convenient and wonderful, sometimes the easiest step towards a positive mental state requires one to turn towards the natural elements. The practice of using essential oils is a wonderful method of calming the mind, as it can be done anywhere, and smells delightful. The most effective essential oils for calming a nervous mind are lavender, bergamot, chamomile, rose and sandalwood. To use the oils, rub a few drops on the wrists, temples, soles of the feet and/or the neck. Next, simply sit back and relax!

While one’s fear of flying may not 100% disappear with these methods, they will certainly facilitate gradual changes towards a greater state of calm when traveling. So, next time the panic begins to set in, take a deep breath, press “play” on that meditation app and enjoy the ride!

bottom of page