A term used in the context of meditation and psychology, mindfulness is described as a state of active attention to what´s going on in the present moment, including dispassionate, nonjudgmental observation of a person´s own thought and feelings. This approach can become a valuable tool to improve the flight experience and reduce the discomfort of people who have anxiety when traveling by plane.
By focusing on breathing, bodily sensations, and their current environment, people can develop greater awareness and connection to their immediate experience. This mindfulness can be particularly beneficial in situations some find stressful, such as traveling by plane.
People who are anxious about flying often experience worries about upcoming flights such as weather conditions, the flight schedule, or possible delays. Mindfulness can be an effective tool to address these challenges.
How to Put Mindfulness into Practice Inflight
Take a moment to close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Observe how air enters and leaves your lungs. By do so you can calm your mind and reduce anxiety.
Observation of Sensations
Pay attention to the sensations in your body, from seat pressure to your sense of touch and smell. By recognising these sensations without judging them, you can increase your awareness and be more present in the moment.
Appreciation of the Environment
Observe details around you such as the cabin lights and seats, as well as what´s outside the windows – clouds, sky, land- and seascapes below. By consciously taking in and appreciating your surroundings you can disconnect from anxiety and connect with the positive aspects – even the beauty – of flying.
Consciously let anxious thoughts pass without becoming attached to them. Recognise that thoughts are temporary and that you can choose to focus on the present instead of worrying about the future – as if you were the sky and thoughts were the clouds that come and go.
3 Benefts of Inflight Mindfulness
Shifting focus from future worry to present experience will ease your anxiety.
Improved Emotional Well-being
By being present and accepting emotions without judging them, you can experience greater emotional well-being during the flight.
Increased Tolerance of Uncertainty
Lack of control and perceived uncertainty about what lies ahead are common in fearful flyers, and mindfulness strengthens the ability to accept them.
Give these techniques a try, and you’re likely to find that not only can you lessen the tension and stress associated with feat of flyi but even make each flight a relaxing and even rewarding experience.
Happy – and fearless – flying!