Photo: David Tran
Nearly 1 in 3 adult Americans is either anxious about flying (18.1%) or afraid to fly (12.6%.) I am both and yet I still do it frequently even though it pains me (and embarrasses me in front of countless strangers.) So any time there is a hack or a tip on how to lessen your flight anxiety (so I can clutch the armrests just a little less) my ears perk up.
It especially makes me feel better when they come from a pilot, which this one did. Captain Ron Nielson, a pilot of 40 years, told the Today Show that if the plane starts experiencing turbulence and you go into an anxiety spiral try writing your name over with your non-dominant hand.
It sounds odd but Nielson had a Today Show producer with a massive flying phobia did in simulated turbulence and she said it definitely helped. “It first causes her to focus on what she’s doing and not on the turbulence and its crossing over her motor function. It’s disrupting the thinking,” he said.
His other rather original tips included tightening up all your muscles when you are first taking off and then releasing and breathing through a straw to prevent hyperventilating.
Here are a few other tips to try for your next flight. Remember you only have a 1 in 9,821 chance of dying from an air and space transport incident making flying one of the safest forms of transportation.