Travel anxiety has a variety of causes. Picture: Ketut Subiyanto/ Pexels
Travel anxiety has a variety of causes. Picture: Ketut Subiyanto/ Pexels

Passenger’s act of kindness encourages others to share their fear of flying stories

By Vuyolwethu Fundam Time of article published Jul 9, 2021

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Thoughtfulness and kindness can go a long way.

A woman on Twitter shared how she comforted a fellow traveller who had an anxiety attack during take-off. She posted a picture of the two them holding hands.

The caption read: “The lady next to me on the plane was having an anxiety attack during take off so I did what I had to do. We got through it together.”

People in the comments section could relate, with some even sharing their own travel anxiety experiences.

One user said: “I get insane anxiety when flying and have encountered so many genuine people who have held my hand or one older woman who even put her arms around me while we got through turbulence. Nothing was said, they just felt my fear and supported me through it. I’m forever grateful.”

Another said: “Someone did this for me one time while I was having a panic attack before take off. God bless that man. I probably would’ve passed out without the emotional support.”

Travel anxiety is quite common and has a variety of causes. These can span from previous travel experiences to over-thinking worst-case scenarios as a result of stories you’ve read or seen on the news, a fear of being away from home, or if you currently suffer from an anxiety disorder.

And, sometimes, you may not even know what causes your travel anxiety.

According to experts, it is essential to understand where your anxiety comes from, so you can find ways to cope or reduce it.

How to handle or reduce anxiety?

Consider the following tips from The Centre for the Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders:

Plan for your anxiety

Pack items that will help you stay calm. Bring your favourite pillow, download your soothing music, practise breathing techniques before time – studies reveal that long, slow breaths can reduce anxiety.

Do relaxation techniques

Tense each part of your body for ten seconds, then slowly relax it and move on to another body part.

For example: tense your right hand for ten seconds, then relax and repeat with your right arm for ten more seconds.

Repeat on your left side, then move to your legs.

Have an experienced travel buddy

If you’re flying, a travel buddy will lead you through the procedures associated with flying. They can also help by distracting you with conversation or encouraging you.

Exercise before you travel

Exercise produces endorphins, which are relaxing – they will help dissipate your anxiety. If you can’t exercise before your flight, consider walking around the terminal to keep your muscles relaxed.

Also, alcohol might alter how your brain reacts and increase your travel anxiety.

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