Relaxation Tips for Those Frightened by FlightAnother public service offered by JeffLindsay.com -
your ultimate source for total mental health prevention.
Many people are still tormented by fear of air travel, in spite of its proven safety record. Facts alone aren't enough to overcome such deep-rooted fears. Over the past 15 years, I have developed PROVEN psychological methods to relax your nervous system and to vanquish the subconscious fears that can make air travel so frightening. Follow these simple instructions, and air travel will be a breeze - guaranteed!
- Tip #1: Lean back into your comfortable seat, allowing your head to rest snugly against the soft woven fabric. Screen from your mind any concerns about the other heads that have been in contact with that same piece of fabric during the past 48 hours - the time that adult head lice can survive without a human host. Chances are that none of the recent passengers had a serious infestation of head lice. Even if one or two did, it's by no means certain that head lice were left in the fabric that now contacts the back of your head. And even if a few lice are there, waiting for a warm human head to offer a new meal of blood, the lice may not include any pregnant females ready to lay dozens of eggs ("nits") in your hair. And even if you experience your own infestation, it can probably be eliminated with as few as two treatments of pesticidal shampoo. Remember, the odds are entirely in your favor. If you do see some fine particles that might be little eggs on your seat, or sense something crawling behind you or on you, it might not be lice at all. Don't worry! In fact, now that airplanes go all over the world, with passengers from all over the world, whatever you saw probably was something else--it could have been any one of the many hundreds of global parasites that also enjoy the benefits of air travel. So calm down--a little biodiversity never killed anyone, at least not in the early stages of the infection. Relax!
- Tip #2: Relax your legs - no need to worry about blood clots (thrombosis)! Now that you've begun the healthy process of relaxing, just sit back in your sit and relax your whole body, especially your legs. After all, what other choice do you have? You're going to be stuck in a cramped, immobile position for the next several hours - maybe even longer if your airline leaves you abandoned on the tarmac (a very trendy move to help passengers have more time to get to know each other and the crew, and the hot, fume-filled tarmac). There's no need to worry about the possibility of getting a blood clot in your legs due to all that inactivity. This medical phenomenon known as thrombosis is surprisingly rare on any given flight. In fact, the odds of you being afflicted with thrombosis due to prolonged inactivity during a single flight are only slightly greater than the odds of finding an available and functional power outlet in a typical American airport. More precisely, studies show that the odds of a passenger getting thrombosis on a typical flight are only 1 in 4656 (though the odds may be much higher if you're over 17, weight over 100 lbs, have had any health problems in the past, have traveled outside the state of Hawaii in the past 3 years, or suffer from irritability, bad skin, or fear of flying). But if you do feel like you may be getting thrombosis or might be about to get thrombosis or even are just worried about thrombosis, your flight crew can apply rapid first-aid and preventative treatments such as a emergency amputation of one or more limbs ("legs - who needs them?") or an emergency reduction in pressure and gravitational stress using a special procedure known as "High Altitude Passenger Ejection." Ask your friendly flight crew for details, so they can keep an eye on you and be ready to help at a moment's notice. So relax - relax everything, especially those legs.
- Tip #3: Visualize world peace, shutting out all thoughts of the rare incidents of terrorism that occur every now and then, primarily on flights with US citizens on board. The weapons that terrorists in Iran and other nations have been stockpiling (allegedly with White House support) almost certainly won't be used against your particular flight. And the risk of one of those mobile rocket launchers being used to bring down your flight is very small - far less than 10% - at least that's what the government tell us. I mean really, who would want to hurt a bunch of wealthy American travelers? Relax! Let's give peace a chance and not get worked up over silly threats.
And remember, the chances of explosives getting past airport security are minimal, thanks to modern scanners that pass intense radiation through everything in your bags, allowing rapid detection of most dangerous objects. And any residual radiation that remains in your underclothing is nothing to worry about. Rumored losses in male fertility for frequent flyers could be due to any number of other factors besides radiation - perhaps repeated oxygen loss, traumatic air pressure changes in flight, food toxins, high anxiety, or even lice infestations.
Take it from me: I've been on literally dozens of flights, and have never been blown out of the sky by terrorists. In fact, I have never experienced a single in-flight detonation that could be unambiguously traced to hostile foreign powers. Relax!
- Tip #4: Read a relaxing book. Maybe something by Stephen King. Turn on the reading light for better vision. And when you turn that light on, there is NO serious reason to worry about the extra electrical current that will flow in the aging wiring system of your airplane, wiring which probably uses "polyimide" insulation that the military quit using years ago because of some slight "safety problems." If by some chance the polyimide insulation, now ever-so slightly brittle and cracked with age, actually does fail, the resulting short circuit or electrical fire is likely to be minor - something most flight attendants are experienced in handling. Believe me, they know how to use a fire extinguisher, and most airlines invest in nothing but the best extinguishers that money can buy. So sit back and enjoy that book.
- Tip #5: Eat up! Some unusually long flights still offer actual food. The airlines know that nothing soothes better than a warm meal. Yours may have been kept warm a long time, often long enough to turn tender morsels into a nourishing form of leather, but rarely long enough for bacterial growth to become a dangerous problem. The few hours since the food was made by clean, dedicated minimum-wage employees might offer just the right balance between flavor development and bacterial growth. Many bacteria are not harmful, and those that are can usually be neutralized by your own amazing immune system. Hey, that's what your antibodies are for! I'm sure you're up to the challenge. Relax - and bon appetit! Reality Check For your convenience and health, most airlines now no longer offer any food. Many some peanuts or pretzels over from World War II that are still perfectly edible, but nothing that could put your starvation diet at risk. We should all thank our airlines for doing their part to help us to lose a few pounds of unwanted baggage.
- Tip #6: Sleep! And dream about biodiversity across the planet, and in your plane. Your aircraft is very much like a flying hotel. Your cleverly designed seat, though cramped, vertical, and designed for bodies several links away from modern Homo sapiens, still has many of the attributes of a genuine hotel bed. While many hotel beds are now known to harbor parasitic bedbugs that come out at night to dwell on your blood, it usually doesn't get dark enough in an airplane for the critters to risk venturing out of your seat, so relax! Plus, the occasional bedbug nibble is usually a lot more innocuous than other parasites, such as headlice. Hey, it's such a small inconvenience for the thrill of traveling - so close those eyes and try to snooze, while executing our next relaxation tip:
- Tip #7: Picture your aircraft as a flying fortress of safety. It's absolutely true that air travel between two points can be much safer than the equivalent automobile trip along the same route. For example, travelers from Portland, Oregon to Hawaii are much safer when traveling by plane than by car. While over 90% of those traveling by air make it safely to Hawaii, the safety record for automotive trips is abominable. Those attempting travel by car are likely to suffer from hypothermia, oxygen deprivation, shark bites, death, and, in some cases, irritating barnacle growths.
As far as accidents go, the risks are surprisingly low. Remember that your plane has probably made many hundreds of flights already during its many years of operation, all without a single catastrophic crash! After all, if it had crashed already, it wouldn't be here, would it? While there may be literally dozens of safe flights left before it becomes too dangerous to fly, you don't need to worry about what happens when the plane does become too old. Most over-aged aircraft are retired shortly BEFORE they fail catastrophically in flight - and that probably means that you'll be just fine, this time. But if any doubt remains, hey, bring your own parachute. Now that's total security. If you are still worried, feel free to look over the wings through the window during your flight and see if you detect any cracks, any lines that show stress or weakness, and feel for unusual vibrations that could mean an engine is about to fall or the whole wing itself is about to disintegrate. Watch carefully, feel carefully, be alert and ready for the slightest hint of disaster--and relax. It will help take your mind of the dangers you face.
- Tip #8: Strike up a conversation with a friendly, young, attractive flight attendant. Though they may seem stressed out and always in a rush, they are actually great conversationalists and will enjoy taking a little extra time to chat with you - always a great ego booster. Avoid raising sensitive issues with awkward questions like, "Why are you all so young? Don't any of you survive past 40?" Instead, think of some basic, non-offensive ice-breakers to get a conversation going. Humor is especially helpful. Here's one sample conversation showing how easy this can be:
- Passenger: "Excuse me, Miss, but how high is this plane?"
- Attendant: "Over 30,000 feet high."
- Passenger: "Wow! That's amazing. And how wide is it?"
- Attendant: "Cute. Say, did I see something crawling on your headrest?"
- Attendant: "Over 30,000 feet high."
- Passenger: "Excuse me, Miss, but how high is this plane?"
- Tip #9: Enjoy the lavatories, which frequently are cleaner than those found in many other public places, such as the toilets at train stations in developing countries or those at any number of gas stations in downtown Newark. If you don't mind lines and tight quarters, airplane lavatories can be a great place to freshen up or seek relief. And you may want to pamper yourself by bringing your own disinfectant spray on board. (Bonus tip: while in line with other anxious strangers, apply the conversation skills you have gained from Tip #7. They could use a little comic relief themselves.)
- Tip #10: Take a deep breath. This can become more difficult due to sudden changes in cabin pressure, but relax - a handy, personal oxygen mask will be waiting for you right when you need it most. They've thought of everything for your convenience! Enjoy the enriched oxygen rush that comes from breathing "the good stuff" - usually at a time when adrenalin is surging as well. It all adds up to hearty excitement. Enjoy the adventure! Savor it! And relax. Thousands of passengers have been through this before. You're going to be just fine, probably.
- Tip #11: Loosen up at landing time and enjoy the excitement. Will you make it? Of course! Remind yourself that wind shear (a phenomenon due to rapidly changing wind velocities near the ground, especially near the ground at airports) rarely tips a plane far enough to one side for a wing to snag the ground. A little swaying right before touchdown is perfectly normal, really. Just keep your seatbelt fastened. A quiet prayer can help, too. As long as the landing gear deploys properly and the tires don't fail after striking the ground with incredible force, chances are you'll be fine!
- Tip #12: Celebrate your safe landing. The most dangerous part of the flight is now behind you, and you've survived! Maybe even had fun, including a pleasant meal and hearty conversation with the staff. Now clap your hands, give a little shout, and high-five a fellow passenger. You're a survivor! But keep your seatbelts fastened while the pilot strives to safely weave his or her way back to the security of the terminal. Don't worry about all the traffic on the ground, or the many other planes that could be landing or taking off around you. Calm yourself with the thought that the odds of being struck by another rapidly moving plane while you are on the ground are far less than 2%. Preventing such problems is the number one job of skilled Air Traffic Controllers, who work long, hard hours dealing with the tedium of another plane coming in, another plane going out, another plane coming in,... Thank goodness for caffeine! And fortunately, most of your dedicated Air Traffic Controllers are probably not on strike or suffering from manic depression.