Learning to fly is absolutely exciting. But if you are an anxious person, the idea of actually flying a plane may be making you feel a bit on-edge. If you want to get the most out of your flight training classes, it's important to manage your anxiety so that you're able to actually learn and enjoy the experience. Here are some strategies for keeping calm while you're up there in the air.
Get to know the instructor first.
You'll feel a lot more comfortable during your flying lesson if you already know the instructor. See if they teach any classroom-based courses on flying, and enroll in one of them before you schedule your in-flight lessons. If this is not an option, ask if you can at least sit down with the instructor and ask them a few questions prior to your lessons. This will give you a chance to build camaraderie, and you'll then feel more confident climbing into the cockpit with them.
Practice good self-care.
In the days and weeks leading up to your flight lessons, make sure you're doing all of the things that you know keep you calm. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, eat a healthy diet, meditate daily, and so forth. You don't want to start your lesson sleep-deprived and starving because that can make your anxiety worse!
Ask questions, and take your time.
You don't want to make your flight lessons into a rushed experience. Remind yourself that there is no reason to rush. Take a deep breath before your instructor has you "take the controls" and don't be afraid to ask questions as they come up. Focus on doing what your flight instructor asks you to do, not on the fact that you're up in the air and flying a plane.
Talk to your therapist about it.
If you have a therapist, make sure you schedule a session a week or so before your first flight training class. Tell them that you are taking flight training courses, and talk about the aspects of the training that make you nervous or anxious. As you've probably experienced before, talking about your worries helps make them less burdensome. Your therapist may also give you some additional tips for dealing with any anxiety you do feel in the air.
Flight lessons can be a little unnerving when you suffer from anxiety, but there are certainly ways to manage your symptoms so you can have a good time up there.