10 fear of flying tips from the most followed therapists on Twitter

Tim Benjamin

I asked the most popular therapists on Twitter for quick and proven tips to reduce your anxiety.

And they’ve come through with some priceless wisdom.

As you read through the list, remember that each tip is one part of the overall solution to beating your fear.

Here’s what the therapists have to say:

1. Dr Earl Henslin

“Usually, these fears go away when people lower their baseline anxiety. To learn how, contact a brain friendly therapist. Meanwhile, you should:

  • Lower anxiety by eliminating caffeine, energy drinks and other stimulants 72 hours before you fly.
  • Load your phone/MP3 player with relaxation or meditation tracks. Practice using these long before you take a flight. That way, you’ll be practiced at slipping into a meditative state quickly.
  • If it is a long flight, take a walk every half hour. Take your time… focus on breathing deeply with each step.”

Find Dr Henslin on Twitter and his website.

2. Dr Keely Kolmes

“One tip is to lower the window shade (so you are not distracted by the scenery rushing by). Then do deep, diaphragmatic breathing. As most flights won’t allow you to listen to an audio recording during takeoff and landing, print a relaxation exercise. Then practice it during take-off.”

Find Dr Kolmes on Twitter and her website.

3. Dr Melanie Greenberg

“Take a deep belly breath for the count of four. Then slowly release it for the count of six. Like you’re blowing out a candle. That will trigger your parasympathetic nervous system. In turn, this will calm the anxiety.”

Find Dr Greenberg on Twitter and her website.

4. Dr Marion Ross

“A simple tip which is great to reduce anxiety is the Over Energy Correction. Cross the left ankle over the right, extend arms with the back of your hands facing each other, bring your right hand over your left, clasp your fingers together, fold arms and hands inward and rest on your chest just under the chin; rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your front teeth and breathe deeply for 1 or 2 minutes. This exercise is very calming for acute anxiety and assists in promoting sleep.”

Find Dr Ross on Twitter and her website.

5. Dr Dan Siegel

“Focus on reducing your background anxiety by practicing mindfulness meditation daily – even if it’s just for 5 minutes.”

Find Dr Siegel on Twitter and his website.

6. Dr Lee Keyes

“Desensitization of fear is a natural process; it is already available to us in our make-up. All we have to do is tap into it and be persistent, and it will do its work for us. The main thing that prevents it from working is our failure to take advantage of it.”

Find Dr Keyes on Twitter and Facebook.

7. Dr Elisha Goldstein

“All modes of suffering – including anxiety – arise from the brain’s very simple strategy of trying to get away from here. If we can learn how to be OK with being here, a lot of suffering will cease.”

Find Dr Goldstein on Twitter and his website.

8. Dr Art Markman

“Take a lesson from exposure therapy: face your fear and don’t engage in lots of behaviors designed to make you feel safe. The plane ride will be no fun. And every bit of turbulence will put your heart into your throat. But that is the long-term recipe to overcome your fear. Over time, your anxiety will decrease, because the mechanisms in your brain will learn that the airplane does not actually signal danger.”

Find Dr Markman on Twitter and his website.

9. Mel Schwartz

“The fear of flying often correlates to control issues. When you can release control to another – in this case the pilot – the fear tends to recede.”

Find Mel on Twitter and his website.

10. Dr Linda Miles

“A good tip is to use headphones before the flight and practice self-hypnosis and relaxation. It is best to practice numerous times before the flight so that there is a practice effect.”

Find Dr Miles on Twitter and her website.

Over to you…

What’s your tip for easing anxiety? Leave something in the comments.

Leave a comment


  1. Sineadnelson

    I really hope this helps. I have hated planes since the day I was born.

  2. J dog

    I will try them. The last time I flew I had several panic attacks – and high anxiety the whole flight. But I want to overcome my fear of flying as I have a trip planned in August of this year. And another next year to Mexico. So, I gotta beat this.

  3. Erica

    Lowering the window shade actually gives me more anxiety…as the plane makes movements I need to look out the window and see that the plane isn’t out of control, spinning or dropping to the ground. Basically I lose my equilibrium and need to see where the ground focus is…out the window on the earth.

    1. Tim Benjamin

      Hey Erica – great to hear you’ve found a technique that helps 🙂

  4. jennifer dee

    I have anxiety over a lot of things including flying. I am going to excersise, eat right, limit caffeine and eat lots of fruit and vegetables a week before iI am scheduled to fly across the united states.

    1. Tim Benjamin

      Hey Jennifer – that sounds like a great plan. While you’re at it, check out the 21 stress-reducing techniques that have been validated by medical researchers here.

  5. Ella R.

    For everyone speaking of being scared of flying, for this reason: You have a better chance to get struck by lightning, than in a plane crash. Sure, its possible, and has happened before. I can’t help that. But, I actually had the same problem you do. Here are some tips to stay calm during a situation like this, or extreme turbulence while flying:
    1) Breathe deeply, and thoroughly, avoid sharp breaths.
    2) Stay seated and have your seatbelt strapped on at all times. If you must get up, ask a flight attendant if you may. It may seem unhelpful to have the seatbelt on, but it reduces stress from the common use of it in the car.
    3) Order a refreshment. Something to keep your mind off of it.
    4) ALWAYS listen to the flight attendant at the beginning of the flight when they explain safety procedures, in case of a fatal incident.
    5) Watch a movie, or play on a device. It may distract you from all the commotion.
    6) Ask someone for advice, they will always be willing to help another out.
    7) Take some medication that may calm you, or help you sleep. They tend to relax you.
    That’s all! I used these myself, and I found they helped a lot. Especially 6, 7 doesn’t work as well for me considering the fact I haven’t slept in a moving vehicle since I was 4. Anyway, safe travels, and I hoped this helped!
    Enjoy your flight!

    1. Tim Benjamin

      Thanks for your tips Ella 🙂

  6. Tammy

    I’ve had bad anxiety for about 9 years now. Started with a severe panic attack on the highway which then caused driving anxiety. I would have panic attacks at other times as well, including being stuck in traffic or in a seminar etc. It seems that my anxiety is connected to being away from safety (ie hospitals or whatever in case of heart attack) on highway, or stuck in a small area ie. car in traffic or seminar room or airplane! Because of this, I hadn’t flown in 7 years until a couple of years ago. I first went on a 2 hour flight then 4 1/2 hr flight within a couple of months. Honestly both times I had to have a glass of wine and a clonazapam. Being on the right medication has helped over the past couple of years, the highway driving has been better (although I never go by myself). I’m going away in a month for a needed holiday (I also have anxiety when in a different country). My anxiety has crept up again with driving etc the past little while. With your post I’ve now ordered a “guided meditation” album for my iphone (I hope I can listen to it on the flight!). Anxiety is a really crapping thing to have and I always wonder whether there will be a day again where I won’t have it! Thanks for your tips I will try them all!

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