Say Anything/20th Century Fox
If you’re an anxious flyer, here’s one way to calm your nerves as your flight begins: count to 100.
Slowly. Steadily. Match the numbers to your breath — inhale on 1, exhale on 2, and so on.
This is a habit that I picked up after reading Patrick Smith’s Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel (an excellent book for the flight-averse, as it explains why the majority of our fears are misguided). As Smith explains:
Not that you should be, but if you insist on being nervous, takeoff is your time — from just prior to liftoff through the first twenty seconds or so of flight.
You could just count to twenty, but I prefer to count the full hundred. It focuses my mind, focuses my breathing, keeps me from thinking about all the bangs and bumps, and I usually hit 100 right as the flight attendants make their first welcome announcement. If they feel safe enough to start cabin service, I can feel safe enough to relax and enjoy my flight.
Feel free to count during turbulence or landing as well, or simply breathe in and out along with your favourite mind-calming mantra. (I like “I’m here” — breathe in on I’m, breathe out on here.)