Fear of flying is so common that some studies have found that up to 25% of Australians suffer from it to varying degrees. According to Pauline McKinnon, founder of the Stillness Meditation centre in Melbourne, Victoria, the underlying issue associated with fear of flying is control, or the feeling of not being in control. For some, there is also a feeling of claustrophobia.
What can you do to prevent flight anxiety from taking control?
When the anxiety starts rising, Pauline advises to go back to basics: take deep breaths. “Stop fighting the feelings! It’s very natural for people to overreact or fight against the onset of anxious feelings. I believe it’s important to counteract that response by ‘letting go’ rather than fighting unpleasant feelings.”
Tension generates more tension, so it’s important to learn how to manage your tension when it begins. Pauline teaches and advocates for the practice of stillness meditation therapy. “In stillness meditation therapy, people learn to deeply relax their mind. In this way, reactivity is reduced naturally and travellers can look forward to an easier journey. A calm mind creates a calm body, which is relaxed, comfortable, and in calm control.”
How about the old brown paper bag trick?
Pauline has noted that this widely-remembered does work, but it comes with its own risk. “Certainly this may be helpful but in a public situation, it’s also a source of embarrassment for many and such also increases the possibility of overreaction.”
For more information or further assistance to release fears of flying or cruising, consider reading or listening to Pauline’s books and audiobooks.