Airplane in the windstorm

Experts reveal five ways to combat flight anxiety this summer

With summer just around the corner, many Brits are eagerly planning their holidays abroad. However, for those who experience flight anxiety, the thought of boarding a plane can cast a shadow over their travel plans.   

To help you enjoy a stress-free journey, CBD experts at Brown’s CBD have compiled five incredible tips to help tackle flight anxiety. From relaxation techniques to strategic seating choices, this expert advice is perfect for those who struggle with their mental health whilst travelling.  



Master the 5-4-3-2-1 technique  


One of the most effective ways to manage anxiety in any situation, including during a flight, is the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique. This method helps to refocus your mind and calm your nerves by engaging your senses. Here’s how it works:

  1. Look for five things you can see. Note details, such as the pattern on the seat in front of you or the colour of the cabin.

    4. Find four things you can touch. Feel the texture of your seat, the in-flight magazine, or even your clothing.  


  1. Listen for three different sounds. This could be the hum of the engine, the chatter of passengers, or the announcements over the intercom. 


  1. Identify two things you can smell. Although this can sometimes be more challenging on a plane, you might notice the scent of food or your hand lotion. 


  1. Focus on one thing you can taste. This could be the food you’re eating, or the lasting taste of chewing gum or mints.

By actively engaging the senses, the 5-4-3-2-1 technique helps redirect the mind away from anxiety-provoking thoughts and towards the present moment. This method of sensory focus is known to reduce the intensity of the anxiety response by interrupting the cycle of worry and rumination.  


Choose a seat over the wings

Where you sit on a plane can significantly impact your comfort level, especially if turbulence triggers your anxiety. To help reduce anxiety, it’s recommended to choose a seat over the wings, as this part of the plane typically experiences less turbulence compared to the front or rear sections. Additionally, sitting over the wings can provide a more balanced ride, which can help soothe frayed nerves.  


Time your meals wisely

Eating at the right time can play a crucial role in managing flight anxiety. To help calm your nerves, it is recommended to avoid meals during the flight and instead eat before or after your journey. Eating before a flight can help you feel more settled and reduce the risk of an upset stomach due to nerves. 


Get some sleep

Getting some rest during your flight will help to alleviate anxiety and make the duration of the journey feel much shorter. Here are a few valuable tips to aid sleep when flying:

  • Bring a travel pillow or blanket: Comfort is a key component in creating a sleep-conductive environment. Purchasing a supportive neck pillow and a cosy blanket can make a significant difference when flying. 


  • Use earbuds or noise-cancelling headphones: Blocking out the ambient noises of the plane can create a peaceful environment. 


  • Wear an eye mask: An eye mask can help you block out light and fall asleep more easily. 


  • Practice deep breathing: Deep breathing exercises can help you to feel relaxed and prepare your body for sleep. 


Incorporate relaxation techniques

Incorporating relaxation techniques into your pre-flight and in-flight routine can help keep anxiety at bay. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Meditation apps: Apps like Calm or Headspace offer guided meditations that are specifically designed to help ease travel anxiety. 


  • Progressive muscle relaxation: Tensing and slowly releasing different muscle groups in your body can help to alleviate physical tension,


  • Aromatherapy: Essential oils such as lavender and chamomile are known to produce calming effects. Consider bringing a small bottle of liquid or a lotion to dab on your wrists before a flight.

Lawrence Brown, director of Brown’s CBD, commented on the study:

“Between 33% and 40% of the population experience some form of flight anxiety, making it a common concern among travellers. However, by implementing effective strategies, you can transform your flying experience from a source of stress into a manageable, and even enjoyable, part of your holiday.

By experimenting with various techniques, you can discover what works best, and with practice and perseverance you can conquer your flight anxiety and travel with a newfound sense of calm and confidence.”