Tips to combat the fear of flying

Sweating, palpitations, panic: if you have these symptoms when you're on a plane, you suffer from the fear of flying. Tips on how you can better prepare yourself and how complementary medicine can help.


Does the following sound familiar? You can't wait to go on your holidays, but as soon as your step onto the aeroplane, you get a sinking feeling in your stomach. You have barely started taxiing down the runway when sweat starts beading on your forehead, your heart begins to race and panic sets in. Around ten percent of the Swiss population suffer from the fear of flying, also known as aviophobia. Good travel preparations, relaxation methods and complementary medicine can help you manage your anxiety. In severe and debilitating cases of aviophobia, however, a fear-of-flying seminar is recommended.

Tips on how you can better prepare yourself

You should be as relaxed as possible on the day of your flight. To avoid unnecessary stress, do everything you need to do the day before. Gather together all of your travel essentials on the evening before so you don't have to run around searching for things on the day that you travel. Keep your flight ticket and ID/passport within easy reach in your hand luggage. Arrive at the airport in plenty of time; this will give you added security.

Your clothing can also affect your wellbeing. Put on comfortable, non-constrictive clothing. This will help you breathe more easily. Also, do not wear ties, collars or belts. The latter will increase the pressure on your already tense stomach. Wear layers so you can regulate your body temperate by taking off items of clothing if you need to. Because when we are nervous, we sweat more than normal.

Flights can be long. To keep your mind occupied and prevent it from getting bogged down in negative thoughts, take plenty of «distractions» with you onto the plane, such as your favourite music or a good book.

Having someone you trust by your side gives you someone to talk to or hold your hand if you become anxious. This will give you a feeling of comfort and security and make you feel more relaxed. A companion can also serve as a good source of distraction.

If aeroplane cabins make you feel claustrophobic, you are best off choosing an aisle seat. This makes it easier to get up and stretch your legs. Aisle seats are also better if you are scared of heights to prevent you from looking out of the window. Also, choose a seat in the middle of the plane, in line with the wings. This offers the smoothest ride and any turbulence will be less perceptible.

Complimentary medicine for the fear of flying

Bach flower therapies – such as the well-known Rescue Remedy – and other plant-based remedies can help restore your natural balance. Passionflower, valerian, lavender, monkshood (Aconitum) and kava (Piper methysticum) all have relaxing and calming properties. These healing herbs are used in both acute and preventative applications. Schüssler salt No. 5, Calcium phosphoricum, is also used to treat anxiety and can help alleviate its symptoms. Your naturopath or chemist will be happy to give you personal advice on which treatment option is best for you.

Breathing and relaxation exercises such as autogenic training can also be beneficial. Or why not give another relaxation technique a try.

Further information

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