Aviation, Depression

Flying soon? Conquering anxiety as a student pilot or wary passenger

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes 10 seconds

More and more folks are reporting unprecedented levels of anxiety. Who can blame them? This year has been more than just a little interesting. Thanks to COVID-19, pilots and passengers alike are facing tension, career worries, and misinformation around flying galore. For the student pilot, you might be worrying about an unfamiliar flight lesson, or facing anxiety about your future job prospects after your training.

For the guests considering taking a flight, the thought of getting on an airplane might be making your heart sink with fear. Is the plane safe, are the airports safe, what if we hit turbulence… if left unchecked, the worries just begin to pile up.

Whatever the reason for battling mild anxiety, there are solutions. And they’re EFFECTIVE. Read on for my secret all-natural remedies that will likely help! Some of these tips also work while onboard the airplane to curb those anxious feelings quick, and prepare you for a smooth flight like you’ve never been able to have before.

Of course though, it’s important to re-iterate that this advice is for mild anxiety. If anxiety is affecting your ability to work, socialize, play and live, please go see a doctor. They are there to help! Otherwise, prepare yourself and read one for life changes that will produce meaningful, scientific, long-term results. This is a very wholesome approach that works from the root to the leaves of the tree in your body.

Don’t worry, I got your back.

Proper Nutrition and Nourishment Kills Anxiety

What you eat and drink can absolutely influence how calm or on edge you feel. A lot of us underestimate or brush off the effects our diet has on us, despite the science hollering at us otherwise. I’m guilty of it too. Everybody realizes that drinking a few cups of espresso every day is probably going to make you jumpy, but how many of us stay below the recommended caffeine intake on stressful days? Eventually we all have to ask ourselves, do you WANT to stay anxious, or not? Ask yourself, am I doing all I can to make sure I’m not contributing to my anxiety by consuming things I shouldn’t be?

Beyond the simple tips like limiting your caffeine intake, let’s look at diet too. You truly are what you eat, and if you’re gorging yourself on only junk, you’re GOING TO feel like junk too. Eating poorly seriously lowers your body’s ability to tolerate stress. In particular, I caution people against eating a high-salt diet. This can do all sorts of fun things to your body (not!) like increase your blood pressure and causes unnecessary stress on your heart. This then contributes to a very elevated level of anxiety.

Eating a decent, balanced diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables is an incredible way to guarantee that your body gets all the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and ready for ANY amount of stress coming its way. Your perform better AND you think better when you’re well nourished and full of the vitamins your body needs.

My next hot tip for people facing insomnia before a big day? Drink chamomile tea, warm milk, or catnip tea before sleep. Not only are these warm comfort drinks majorly unwinding, but they are well proven to assist with finding some sleepiness and peace before bedtime. Give it a try!

I’ll finish off with my top-secret nutrition tip to getting my body’s baseline at a level where anxiety struggles to take root. I keep up religiously with multi-vitamins, and I also take nootropics known to be effective anti-anxiety medicine. Ashwaghanda is a very popular one. My personal favourite however, is Lion’s Mane mushroom. You can buy the pure extract all dosed and ready to go right here on Amazon, for a fantastic price too.

Exercise Destroys Anxiety too

Sitting around and stressing about all that can go badly, or might, puts your mind and body in a pretty bad state. Make sure you invest your free time in a way that is more beneficial, that will build up your ability to face fears constructively. And the way to do this, is exercise. To neglect daily movement is to completely give up on changing your ability to handle anxiety!

If you’re starting from zero, that’s totally ok. Start with a basic, fundamentals exercise routine. This can be as simple as going for a stroll for ten to fifteen minutes each day. Research shows that major anti-anxiety benefits begin at 15 minutes, so if that’s all you’re up for, that’s AWESOME. Progressively start to walk further a few times each week to increase your distance and speed.

Any kind of vigorous movement energizes the body, reducing negative hormones like cortisol, ending up with YOU feeling better and more capable. Activities like hiking, jogging, biking, and yoga are some of the kinds you want to get into. I’ve shared my favorite, easily carry-able and affordable yoga mat with the attached link. If you want to get into a new sport, now’s your chance!

Another bonus to exercise? It lets you appreciate your surroundings (whether inside your home, or outside), an instant mind calmer. These are also activities that can be enjoyed in the company of others. Which, as it turns out, is extra important too for anxious folks. Having a good social network is CRITICAL to freeing yourself from patterns that you’ve developed that keep you in the web of stress. Which brings me to the next point…

Are You Still Socializing?

Invest energy into staying connected with others in ways that are meaningful to YOU. This helps to convert our feelings about our problems from this great, big spooky monster to something manageable. When we open up and share with our friends, you end up feeling valued, acknowledged, and best of all, appreciated. Sharing personal tales and advice prompts your brain to think in problem-solving mode, rather than a place of helplessness. So, accept help if you need it. Open up to people, you deserve it!

If you have the option to help other people, do it! Playing a beneficial role in someone’s life, or volunteering to help a social cause, centers attention on positive thoughts rather than your own individual, personal worries. You’d be amazed at the permanent mind-shift you can experience when you put your energy into helping others. Your own worries will seem much more tolerable and full of hope. And next time you face them, you’ll find your ability to manage them has grown CONSIDERABLY. This absolutely applies to flying too. This is a permanent, complete mind-shift.

Especially with the Advent and Christmas season coming up, many of you are probably struggling with feeling alone and pressed for funds more than ever. Not letting that spill into your flight training, or getting onto an airplane to come home, is going to be a considerable challenge for many. The forced distance from our loved ones thanks to COVID-19 makes every aspect of the holidays much more complicated and stressful! Humor sure helps. If you’re like me and planning to send off a lot of Christmas cards, I hope these ones make you chuckle and give you some funny ideas for what you want to send your loved ones.

And finally, lets dip into how to deal with acute stress. If your anxiety levels are reaching a point where you are not sure how you’re going to cope, or it feels like the beginnings of a panic attack, these are ways to deal.

Managing ACUTE Anxiety

Square breathing! A long-held golden standard for managing strong emotions. Square breathing can be modified in many wonderful ways according to your body’s needs. The technique is simple. First you hold your breath for a period of time, then release it for the same amount of time. Pause with no breath for the same amount, and then finish with an inhalation for the exact same length of time. What could this look like? For example: Hold your breath for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, pause for 4 seconds, and then inhale for four seconds. Begin the cycle again, going through the breathing exercise for at least a few minutes. You can modify the length of the square as much as you want, it’s all about whatever feels good.

– Immediate, but healthy distractions to lower the acute intensity of the anxiety. Some people like to temporarily play with a fidget toy, their rings, or pause and play a game on their phone. The goal is to distract yourself momentarily in a way that soothes the immediate feeling of panic.

-Remind yourself, you are NOT your feelings. Sometimes our thoughts are not very rational or helpful, even if we are UTTERLY convinced that they are. Let yourself always know that you are not alone in your anxiety, many, many people are anxious right now at any given moment in world! And many people have experienced anxiety about the VERY thing you are currently anxious about. You’re not alone, ever. Imagine yourself being connected to all people feeling anxious about the same thing in the exact same moment – and know that’s the truth.


I genuinely hope that some of these methods prove helpful to you all. Please consider sharing this with friends and family about to hop onto a plane either now or in the far future, and follow this blog to be the FIRST to have my posts on your screen.

This post also features some awesome affiliate Amazon links, if you purchase a featured product through one of those links, just know that I donate money regularly to local women’s shelters and other charities – that’s really where that goes. One day I’d love to take this blog a step further and get some hosting, so if you’d like to support that dream, let me know.

All the best, and lots of love, Shavonne

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