Terrified of Flying? Meditation Can Help

If you suffer from fear of flying, chances are you’ve tried sedatives, anti-anxiety medications, or even avoided air travel altogether. Meditation is a healthier and more effective alternative.

Meditation can help reprogram your thoughts, relax tensions and ease travel anxiety every step of the way. Here are techniques for each stage of your travels, even before you step foot in the airport.

Pre-Flight Visualization

Sometimes when we are fearful of something, we can work ourselves up into a frenzy before the stressful event — even more than during it. Visualize a positive outcome as a way to focus and gain command over your fears. Set your intention with this short visualization exercise on your way to the airport:

Close your eyes and picture a positive airport experience where everything goes smoothly. Don’t even think about the plane or the flight yet, just focus on your time at the airport. Imagine a seamless check-in followed by an efficient line at security, then visualize yourself walking calmly to your gate. Picture the coffee, water, or snack you’ll pick up along the way. The more details the better. When you are done. Take deep breath and open your eyes.

Setting an intention will help you stay on track and in the flow.

During Takeoff and Landing

People with flying anxiety are often triggered during take off and landing.  These are also the most challenging times to meditate, but that makes it all the more important. Put on some headphones (preferably noise-cancelling) and tune into a guided meditation on your Inscape app to help talk you through the experience and help you stay balanced.

Find Inscape’s Air Travel meditation series under the “On the Go” section in the Single section of the app. These 10-minute sessions will help, whether you’re feeling anxious just before a flight or in need of some centering in the days leading up to your trip. There’s even a meditation to aid in jet lag. Listening more often will increase effectiveness, particularly on the eve of your flight. Try our session "Fear of Flying" for free here.

In Flight

Often, the fear of flying comes from the thought process that you are unsafe. But the reality is that flying is the safest form of travel. Your odds of dying in a plane crash are about one in 16,000,000, compared to about one in 8,000 for a car accident. In fact, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning.

Set your intention to keep calm during your in-flight meditation. The best way to do that is with a mantra, which helps bring a sense of restful awareness to your mental state while also giving your mind something to focus on.

Along with your breaths, focus your attention on your mantra, for example:

Inhale, silently saying, “I am safe.”

Exhale, silently saying, ” I am calm.”

Repeat this mantra for 10 to 20 minutes. When time is up, take another few minutes to focus on your breath—in and out through your nose—before opening your eyes.