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Fear of turbulence

Updated on December 3, 2008

If you feel like helpless jello in the air there is help on the way!


Personally, I have never been fond of roller coaster rides, as a matter of fact, I spent my honey moon at Walt Disney and all I got to enjoy was the Merry Go Round and "It's a small world" ride. I have always suffered motion sickness from multiple curves in a car ride, to sea-sickness in ocean liners to my ultimate addition: air sickness.

I really pretty much had always had pretty smooth flights in my life until March 2006.I was on a flight from Rome to Philadelphia and there it happened. We hit clear air turbulence and there I was searching desperately for my barf bag! I did not get sick to my surprise, but I was simply terrorized.

I never expected an airplane to turn into a dreaded roller coaster ride! I was white knuckled as my husband was making fun of me. His humor though was only making me more irritated than ever. I soon shortly thereafter, realized that that experience had negatively marked my future flights.

I started becoming nervous at every sign of 'bumps" on the following flights fearing that the clear turbulence event would happen again. However, I have fortunately found many precious coping skills that have helped fying become a more bearable event.

I will share these tips since they seem to work pretty well for me and should for any other individual who just as me hates feeling like jello tossed about the cabin.

-First of all realize that turbulence poses no sort of harm to the aircraft. Aircrafts can withstand much more turbulence than we expect. As a matter of fact some aircrafts routinely fly directly into hurricanes for study purposes!

-Wings are pretty flexible. Even though the wings of the aircraft I flew on that dreaded March were flapping like a duck eager to fly South, the plane was intact. Wings are not really two metal pieces attached to the fuselage. Rather they are an entire piece going from one side to the other through the fuselage. Get the idea?

-Accept your anxiety instead of trying to overcome it. Just as bamboo stalks in the wind: bend down to anxiety instead of becoming rigid and breaking down. This has worked wonders for me. Fighting anxiety only worsens it for some reason.It's just a waste of energy! So accept your anxiety, this will help you cope with it and ultimately overcome it more easily.

-Bring along some ginger candy! Ginger has been proved to help overcome motion sickness without the drowsy effects of medications. It has always helped me and it is also so flavorful! It keeps nausea at bay and prevents you from getting sick.

-If you really need medications such as Dramamine remember to take it at least an hour prior to your flight so it has full effect once you take off. Dramamine may cause drowsiness which may be a plus if your an anxious flyer.

- Bring along a bag of goodies to keep you occupied and happy. You will have your favorite treats and your favorite books or cd's. Cross word puzzles or Sodoku are great additions. If you are specifically nervous about flying print out articles or buy books/audio cd's that explains all the dynamics of the flight. This brings us to the next tip...

-Learn as much as you can about turbulence, knowledge is power and will help you understand what turbulence really is and its causes. Soon you will be able to recognize that some clouds are likely to cause more bumps than others and you may feel more in control.

-Tell the flight attendants you fear turbulence, they will be very understanding and may be able to reassure you and keep you entertained with their stories. The fact that they are so used to it will help you feel better. Just check them out during turbulence, they are most likely just annoyed because they cannot do food service or because spills may occur and they need more cleaning up.

- When turbulence arrives pretend you are in a car or bus on a big bumpy street with lots of potholes. Very likely if you watch your cup of water on the plane it will move less than when riding in a car over a very bumpy road.

-Last and not least remember that you are in charge, it will ultimately be up to you on deciding if you are going to be able to overcome the fear or let it grow larger and larger as you nurture it by avoiding future flights. The secret on overcoming the fear is not giving it a chance to over come you!

So I hope the tips have helped you take action and prepare for your next flight! All I can do now is to give you my my best wishes for a great and hopefully even smooth trip!

Looking at clouds can be very relaxing...try to take pictures too!


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