As I’m writing this I’m on a flight now from Florida to Arizona to visit family. Flying has always been a huge source of anxiety for me, only a necessary evil that accompanies my very active travel life. I would stress about it up to two days before flying and then feel physically ill for a full 24 hours before even getting to the airport.
Once at the of airport I felt anxious and annoyed going through security, dealing with airport staff, tired of waiting around to board and then almost have an out of body experience once in my seat. It was pure misery.
As it’s always my goal to better myself and grow as a person, I wondered why I felt like flying was something completely out of my control.
It’s said that when poor people suddenly become rich, it only magnifies what they were when they were poor because being rich is a mindset. I venture to say that flying is very similar. Stressful situations only magnify who and what you already are.
I was a person who, when stressed, focused on the unpleasant and resisted being uncomfortable and out of control. I realized I had a great opportunity to grow as a person through the experience of flying, so I decided to try an experiment.
Going with the flow
Before travelling today, I consciously decided I was going to go with the flow and make my experience a positive one no matter what the circumstance was.
I downloaded some meditation and affirmation audio to listen to in line at security. I smiled at TSA and allowed them to do their jobs, even when I didn’t fully agree with their strategy.
I allowed people around me to be who they were, in spite of what I thought of them and I vowed to stay positive even if things didn’t go as planned.
I’m a control freak in most areas of my life. I’m not totally proud of that fact (more to work on) but it’s true. Flying is the ultimate affront to my need to control everything, especially when the plane takes off. I now realize that NOT BEING IN CONTROL has always been my biggest reason for my fear of flying.
What I’ve come to realize is the fact that letting go is okay if I let it be okay because truly, I can’t control anything other than my thoughts and feelings anyway.
Having anxiety, being stressed and fearful didn’t help my safety or improve the quality of my day so I gave myself permission to let go. Ahhhhh.
What you focus on determines the quality of your thoughts. The quality of your thoughts determines the quality of your day. The quality of your days is what you will look back on to determine the quality of your life.
As we were taking off today I was feeling quite anxious until I put an audio on by Tony Robins (the emotional state changing Master) and heard those very words.
I realized that as soon as I sat down in the plane I started to focus on everything that I didn’t like. The crowded plane, my upset stomach, the grouchy flight attendants and the fact that I was about to be totally out of control flying 30,000 ft in the air.
When I realized I had the control to change my focus on feeling excited about seeing my family, the smile on the baby three seats ahead and the miracle machine that allows me to travel the world, I instantly felt better. I felt powerful being able to control my focus and it changed the quality of my thoughts and experience.
Tolerance & Kindness
As humans, most of us have to interact with other people from time to time. Have you noticed that when you’re in a great mood, it’s very hard for anyone to get you down? Often this scenario is just by chance but the good news is that you decide how you want to interact with people, no matter how you feel.
I’ve started affirming who I want to be in this world each morning through audio and written affirmations. This sets the tone for my day and makes it easier for me to follow through with who I want to be when I’m in a difficult situation.
I challenge you to look at flying as the ultimate test to tolerance and kindness. I also give you permission to act based on who you want to be rather that react because you’re triggered. Again, this comes back to what you focus on.
Today, I decided to focus on feeling good because I don’t feel good when I have petty confrontations with people because they’re having a bad day. Instead, I am empowered to choose who I am and how I feel because no one else has control over that but me.
How to make flying a good experience for yourself
- Ask yourself what you don’t like about it and write it down. Then next to it, write another way of looking at the situation.
For example, I hate waiting in the security line. Another way to look at it is that it’s time to listen to my audio book, soothing music and focus on relaxing myself for the flight. I can connect and engage with others. It gives me a chance to look for positive things surrounding me that I can focus on to start my pleasant journey travelling.
2.Listen to positive and uplifting audio.
- Find ways to make others smile, even if all you do is smile at them first.
- In the airport and on the plane, look for things to focus on that make you feel good. It’s a game, how many can you find?
- Tell yourself, the entire journey is an exercise in letting go, having kindness, tolerance and the ability to focus on feeling good which will only help you grow in all areas of your life.
Other fun ways to feel good when flying
- Get to bed early the night before and create a calming environment as much as possible
- Leave for the airport earlier than you normally would to avoid the stress of unforeseen circumstances such as traffic or an abnormally busy airport
- Wear something comfortable but that makes you feel good when you wear it
- Drink more water than usual
- Eat healthy, easily digestible foods the day before travel to ensure you have a calm stomach and mind
- Eat an early dinner so you sleep well
- Imagine yourself as a leader. Give yourself the responsibility to be the calm, happy traveller that others can look to for strength, if this works for you
- Use Rescue Remedy or Lavendar oil if it’s calming for you
- Avoid caffeine all together or switch to something less caffeinated like Matcha, Yerba Mate or Green Tea
Learning to change your habits is not always easy and there will be times when you’re left wondering, “Who was that person? That couldn’t have been me!” . That’s okay, love and forgive yourself anyway. Remember, you’re changing life long habits and it doesn’t always happen over night. Then, with love in your heart, dust yourself off and keep practicing.
How do you view flight travel? How do you find ways to enjoy it?