How Can Meditation Help Calm Nervous Flyers
POSTED BY Mavy | December 9, 2019
Label: Travel Tips
Travel is exciting. However, the experience of travelling can be a stressful one. The worst part for many people is flying, which can bring negative effects such as irritation, emotionality, jet-lag and anxiety. Not only this, but the altered oxygen levels can affect memory and concentration, making the experience more stressful.
On the other side of the flight, you may welcome a week of relaxing holiday, full of sun, sea and sand, but often the journey there is bumpy. If you are flying, you must prepare yourself for the inevitable psychological, emotional, mental and even physical turbulence of modern air travel, however, mindfulness and meditation can help…
We have expert input from Will, the founding teacher at Beeja Meditation in London, who has advice on dealing with flying and airports as a nervous flyer. He wants to help create a healthier happier, world, and that means helping you hop on that plane!
We all have fears, but flying can be a serious phobia that can sadly get in the way of enjoying family holidays and relaxing time away in the sun. Meditation can help us to face our fears and understand them more clearly.
Meditation can allow you to recognise thoughts and feelings without having to have an emotional reaction. The routine practice of meditation can also train your mind to live in the present. Phobias can often stem from the past, and anxiety can be a response to fear of the immediate or distant future. When you focus on the present, you gain the ability to reduce panic.
This can also help with your journey to the airport. Sometimes we work ourselves up more before the experience, rather than during.
Pre-travel anxiety can be worse than the actual experience of flying itself. Airports can often be busy and extremely stressful, but there are a few things you could do to help make it much smoother.
- Be mindful when choosing your flight times. Be sure to look at popular times and rush hours. You will usually find that mornings are quieter and it gets busier around 7 or 8 am. 9 am - 12 pm is usually the busiest.
- Take advantage of online check-ins. It’s super easy and you can usually do it for at least a few days before you fly, with some allowing you to check in 30 days in advance. This saves queuing and lots of hustle and bustle.
- Don't be afraid to ask. If you are feeling a little overwhelmed or unsure what to do, where to put your bag etc, don't hesitate to find an attendant and ask for assistance. They should be able to point you to where you should be.
- Get to the airport with plenty of time. You don't want to add any pressure of being late to your stresses. Two to three hours should be plenty of time to catch your flight smoothly.
Meditation can't stop the source of anxiety, however, it can reduce it, working on your nervous system. Meditation can help you gain a sense of space and perspective which lasts far beyond the immediate meditation.
In the event of turbulence, try not to panic. Sit calmly with both feet planted on the ground, hands on your knees and head upright. Be sure to focus on your breath and use the entire experience as an exercise - a task of control.
You may not be able to control the turbulence, but you can control your body and your reaction. Use this time to reflect and link the turbulence with your anxiety. Then you can feel both pass - like an unwanted thought.
Practising meditation can help you to relax through these moments of turbulence. When your nervous system is overstimulated you aren't in a balanced state. When we meditate our nervous system can be restored to its most natural equilibrium. It can allow you to be fully relaxed yet also fully engaged and alert.
Lines are given in the airport, especially when it comes to security. If you must wait in a line, use this time to take a few quiet moments to tune into your breath. If you ever catch yourself in a queue, don't panic. Inhale to allow your lungs to fill completely, pause and exhale fully. Take in the textures, qualities and sensations of air and focus on this, not on the queue.
You can use a line to your advantage and use it as a catch-up method - use it to take a moment to relax, breath and recuperate if needed.
Jet lag is never welcome. It disrupts our body's natural rhythms by a change in time zones and just general tiredness. Meditation can help by resetting the nervous system, allowing you to adjust to a new time zone more readily, reducing the disorientating effects.
Lack of sleep is one of the reasons we often suffer from jet lag. When we meditate, you can get more powerful levels of rest. When flights are long and sleep is most likely interrupted, this is extra beneficial.
Will Willams, from Beeja Meditation says that practicing meditation helps to calm an individual through trigger experiences such as flying:
“Beeja meditation helps to calm down the activation of the amygdala, which is always on high alert when we’re faced with a trigger experience.
It also helps to put your brain into an alpha wave state, which helps immunise you from feelings of nervousness and alarm, which takes place in what’s known as the beta state (panic happens in a high beta or gamma state).
And crucially, meditation helps your body purge itself of painful memories and trauma so that it is less likely to be prone to feelings of anxiousness and nervousness.”
We understand that flying can be a daunting prospect for many, however, the team at Globhunters will do everything in our power to ensure you have a smooth and faultless flight.
We have established partnerships with everyone from airlines to car hire companies to ensure you can be as stress-free as possible. If you have any questions or would like to talk to a member of our team, simply get in touch. We would be more than happy to talk you through our process.