Here are a few ideas to help calm down before and during a flight, if you experience flight anxiety.
Don’t dwell on your fears. When you’re sitting there, seat-belt done up and the jet is taxiing down the runway, remind yourself that flying is one of the safest modes of transportation. And then channel your thoughts to something pleasant, such as what delights await you at your destination. Keep doing this every time your thoughts stray, replace a negative thought with a positive one.
Deep breathing. But not so deep that your neighbour looks at you strangely! Focus on breathing calmly and controlling your thoughts. Thinking about ways that the plane could crash is not at all healthy and could bring on a panic attack. Breathing calmly and thinking of nothing at all for a few seconds can be very helpful.
Reading. Most airlines have an in-flight magazine and safety chart. Always read the safety chart and pay attention to such factors as where you are in relation to the closest exit, brace position and so forth. Then, find an article that takes your fancy in the in flight magazine and read it during take-off, if you are especially nervous during that time. This will keep your mind focused on something other than your fear.
Don’t drink while flying. From personal experience, I have found that having a drink on board can actually exacerbate anxiety symptoms. You are far more likely to have better sleep on board, and thus a calmer trip, without the benefit of hard spirits. If you do decide to have a drink, choose wine rather than spirits.
Change your thinking pattern. In the time leading up to your journey, focus on positive aspects of flying. The marvel of modern technology, that all those tons of weight can safely lift into the air. Get your excitement up about your journey, by doing research on your destination. Take along reading material for on-board.
If you do feel unable to cope with the idea of flying, consult your physician, who may prescribe something to help you through.