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You might have read articles lauding yoga’s benefits for physical and mental health. If you are in therapy, your counselor or psychiatrist may have recommended the practice as a complementary treatment. Research shows it is an effective regimen for disorders like depression, but does it work for everyone? Enter integrated yoga therapy. This new modality features small group or individualized instruction to personalize a routine that fits your specific needs. It’s perfect for those with chronic conditions that limit mobility and those with emotional wounds that require nurturing to heal. Are you curious to learn more about this holistic health practice that could transform your life? Here’s what you need to know about integrated yoga therapy and advice for getting started. The Components of Integrated Yoga Therapy Integrated yoga therapy began in 1993. It was the brainchild of Joseph LaPage, a Kripalu teacher who completed graduate-level work in experiential education. It’s now used in hospitals, community and senior centers, rehabilitation facilities and corporate settings. Unlike traditional yoga classes, all practitioners receive a basic education in how the practice affects their body and mind. You’ll learn how the following components of integrated yoga therapy interact to encourage genuine healing: Asana: A physical posture in yoga. Pranayama: Breath work. Meditation: Conscious inward reflection and focused contemplation. Yoga Nidra: A highly meditative state between wakefulness and sleeping. Mudra: Symbolic ritual gestures that harmonize the body’s energy channels. Mantra: Spoken or chanted words and phrases that encourage a positive mental state. It’s not unusual for integrated yoga therapy sessions to include mini-lectures about physiology, including how bodily conditions influence the mind and vice-versa. You’ll receive an in-depth education about practices you can carry on beyond the studio, such as dietary modifications, that also support healing. Benefits of Integrated Yoga Therapy Integrated yoga therapy has multiple benefits. The individualized format is one of the most vital for those who have stayed away from traditional classrooms out of shyness or intimidation. It might seem overwhelming to step inside a yoga class spilling over with participants, and those with health conditions often hesitate over the fear of embarrassment. However, they welcome a one-on-one interaction with a trained guide or a smaller class with others with similar health concerns. Integrated yoga therapy is ideal if you experience any of the following conditions. 1. Chronic Pain People with chronic pain often grow weary of their physicians saying, “You need to work out.” However, doctors don’t receive much training in exercise physiology or nutrition and often can’t empathize with the struggles that folks in this population experience. As a result, many start a program, find it excruciating and quickly quit without exploring other options. Integrated yoga therapy allows you to work one-on-one with your guide to discover a routine that challenges you without increasing your pain levels. Your training should feel both invigorating and relaxing, with your instructor modifying poses and personalizing your practice to achieve these aims. 2. Neurological Issues Brain injuries can devastate a life, leaving you outwardly appearing normal while impeding your ability to perform everyday tasks. Integrated yoga therapy works closely with you to build new neural pathways. It can help you recover some or all of your previous range of motion, free from any curious but intimidating stares you might encounter in classes with those who don’t understand your condition. 3. PTSD People with PTSD and C-PTSD have nervous systems that learn to respond to normal stimuli in maladaptive ways after exposure to traumatic experiences. Integrated yoga therapy helps by engaging your neuroplasticity and helping to rewire those channels. It also teaches you to cope with stressful stimuli without becoming overactivated or engaging in maladaptive responses. Your guide respects your boundaries concerning touch and reassures you that you are safe while in session. 4. Depression and Anxiety While society may classify depression and anxiety as mental disorders, they have physical consequences, including keeping people from getting sufficient activity. Depressed individuals may struggle with low energy that keeps them out of traditional classes, and those with social anxiety may understandably stay away from crowded classrooms. Integrated yoga therapy meets the individual where they are at, gently coaxing them to the movement that ultimately helps them feel better. They may use slower-paced restorative techniques when sadness makes limbs feel heavy or utilize energetic vinyasas to dispel excess tension. What You Should Know When Getting Started With Integrated Yoga Therapy Your journey begins with finding the right guide. These professionals are certified, receiving an extra 800 hours of training beyond their yoga credentials. Ask your instructor where they received their education. Integrated yoga therapy can cost more than traditional classes, thanks to the individualized experience. However, it’s still far more affordable than most conventional medical treatments. Furthermore, those with HSAs can use their funds to pay for services, and some limited insurers may offer coverage. Like any yoga class, you’ll need the right equipment to maximize your experience. Here’s a short list of what you’ll need: Comfortable clothing: In general, tight-fitting clothing like spandex is best for yoga as it enables freedom of movement. However, trauma survivors can wear their baggy sweats if that makes them feel more at home — your guide will help prevent you from becoming tangled. A mat: A thick mat offers more padding for those with chronic pain conditions. A non-slip surface comes in handy if you sweat a lot or need energetic practices to dispel anxiety or negative emotions like anger. Straps, blocks, pillows and blankets: While your guide may have props to borrow, it’s more hygienic to have a personal set. These tools can assist you in holding or getting into poses if you have physical limitations and can make holding slow, Yin-style poses for extended periods more comfortable. Is Integrated Yoga Therapy Right for You? Now that you know what it can do, is this modality right for you? It could be the secret ingredient you need to bring about genuine healing. The beautiful part about integrated yoga therapy is that it teaches techniques you can use as effective coping skills long after you leave the studio. If you’re interested in lifelong wellness but stay away from the gym because of medical or mental conditions, integrated yoga therapy could be the start of a healthier new you.
Sadly, trauma is all too common, with 60% of men and 50% of women experiencing at least one traumatic event — such as physical or sexual assault, medical trauma, child abuse, accidents, natural disaster or witnessing a death. For some, it nestles itself in the somatic nervous system, carrying long-lasting crippling effects on the body and mind. If you've ever felt trauma and now struggle to release its grip on you, restoring the somatic nervous system may provide relief. Here's what you need to know about somatic experiencing for trauma recovery. What Is the Somatic Nervous System? The somatic nervous system is part of the peripheral nervous system, enabling movement and muscle control throughout the body. It also sends information to the brain regarding taste, smell, touch and sound. The somatic nervous system spreads throughout the body through cranial nerves from the brain and spinal cord. Some nerves are sensory and deliver information to the brain, while others manage your motor skills from the brain to your muscles. Typically, somatic nerve endings usually stop in your fingers and toes. Physical harm to the somatic nervous system may lead to a loss of feeling upon touch, numbness, a "pins and needles" sensation and referred pain. However, studies have shown that the psychological impacts of negative sensory experiences also get stored in the body as somatic memories. Trauma's Affect on the Somatic Nervous System Trauma ultimately rewires the brain after posing a threat to one's body. The onset of sudden or chronic stress on the nervous system stimulates physical changes and reactions. Sensory processing entails registering, arranging and regulating sensory information to issue an appropriate bodily reaction to stress. When a person experiences sudden or chronic trauma, the somatic nervous system holds onto the event, leaving a "trauma imprint" on muscle memory. At its worst, this occurrence could result in a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis. The most common side effects of trauma on the somatic nervous system are pain and fatigue — however, constant thoughts and feelings about pain may make it increasingly challenging to handle. Sometimes, somatic symptoms are so dire that they affect people's daily lives. Addressing the effects of trauma on the somatic nervous system is crucial for relieving the body from a sense of threat. To achieve this, research has since pointed to a modern therapeutic approach called somatic experiencing. Somatic Experiencing for Trauma Recovery Somatic Experiencing (SE) essentially releases trauma-induced tension that gets trapped within the body. However, before diving in, long, deep breaths will help relax your overactive nervous system and prepare for SE. Practitioners follow a particular framework to address trauma imprints in the somatic nervous system, as follows: Sensation: Gaining awareness of your body's sensations Imagery: Guided imagery in which you explain what you feel to the practitioner Behavior: The practitioner observes how your body responds to your internal experience Affect: The emotions you display during the guided SE experience, such as tone, speed of speech and word choice Meaning: What you gained from the experience of SE SE isn't an overnight fix for the somatic system — instead, it's a gradual healing process that addresses the cognitive and physical responses to trauma. Yet, a 2017 study discovered that 44.1% of individuals undergoing SE overcame their PTSD diagnosis. Although many professionals claim to know how to perform SE, the practice was developed by Dr. Peter Levine. Therefore, finding a therapist in the SE directory is the best way to ensure you choose an experienced practitioner with the proper training. Leave the Past Behind You Trauma can hinder the somatic nervous system's ability to self-regulate, especially when trauma is chronic. In addition to developing coping skills and stabilized moods, SE can restore the body to a sense of safety. If leaving the past behind you with SE is frightening, remember that there's happiness and meaning on the other side of your pain.
While many types of meditation focus on clearing your mind and eliminating all thoughts, focused meditation for beginners is more open-ended. Also known as focused attention meditation (FAM), this form directs your attention to one object or sensation. Many people find this strategy more effective and accessible than thinking about nothing, making it a great practice for those new to meditation. Learn more about the benefits of focused meditation and how you can get started at home. Why Practice Focused Meditation? Focused meditation offers practitioners several benefits that can improve mental and physical well-being: Better attention span: FAM is all about concentration. Developing this practice consistently can help improve your attention span in other areas of your life. Reduce stress: The breathing exercises and mental clarity that result from meditation practices can promote relaxation and lessen the impact of daily stress. Emotional regulation: Focused meditation encourages you to control your thoughts in a healthy way. You’ll learn how to manage complicated emotions as they arise. Tips for Starting a Meditation Practice Now that you know the benefits of a focused meditation practice for beginners, here’s how you can start developing a FAM routine yourself. Choose Your Focus As we discussed above, this type of meditation is about directing your attention to one focal point rather than clearing your mind entirely. To get started, you’ll need to select that centerpiece for your practice. Your focus can be almost anything — your breathing, an object in front of you, an idea or a mantra. Depending on where you meditate, you might be able to use your other senses to select a focal point. Is there a sound you can concentrate on or the smell of a favorite candle? Get creative to find what works for you. Get Comfortable One of meditation’s primary goals is to promote relaxation, so you shouldn’t force yourself to sit uncomfortably just because it looks “right.” Let go of your expectations and find a cozy place that allows you to focus on your practice. Whether you’re on the floor, on a chair or somewhere else, try sitting up straight to allow for full breaths. You can explore other meditation positions to discover new ways to deepen your practice. Start With Brief Meditations As you begin to craft a meditation routine, take your time. Concentrating on your focal point is a new skill that requires practice. You can begin with short five- or ten-minute sessions, which are long enough to help you relax but short enough that you won’t lose interest. Once you’ve adjusted to focused meditation, you can experiment with longer sessions. Build up your foundation and you’ll be able to find deeper calm in extended meditations when it counts. Consistency Is Key A dedicated meditation practice won’t spring up overnight — it requires consistent practice. If you’re starting with short sessions, it should be easy to set aside a few minutes every day or a few times a week for focused meditation. Whatever schedule you establish, stick to it. Much of meditation is about finding a rhythm — and that includes a daily routine. Your body and mind will adapt to the pattern you set and make it easier for you to find inner peace. Develop Your Own Focused Meditation for Beginners Focused meditation doesn’t require any equipment or instructors, so you’re free to craft a practice how you see fit. Explore different focal points to find what feels best for your body and mind. You can gradually expand your meditation to deepen your peace of mind.
Contrary to what you might see on social media, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) doesn’t mean a person likes to be neat and tidy. There are several types of OCD, but the hallmark of the condition is intrusive thoughts — known as obsessions — that create extreme anxiety. Then, to relieve their discomfort, a person with OCD performs a certain act known as a compulsion. Here’s what OCD looks like for different people. Types of OCD An estimated 1% of the population has obsessive-compulsive disorder. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but the following types of OCD are extremely common: 1. Contamination OCD In contamination OCD, the intrusive thought is that the person may have touched something dirty and could catch a disease. The compulsion is usually frequent hand washing or cleaning. The person may also avoid touching certain objects such as doorknobs, bathroom stall doors or faucet handles. A subtype of contamination OCD is the fear of mental contamination, in which a person avoids thoughts or phrases that make them feel like a bad person. They may also avoid talking to people whose behavior they don’t like for fear of accidentally becoming like them. 2. Emetophobia OCD Not always relegated to the realm of OCD, emetophobia is the intense fear of vomiting. It becomes OCD when a person starts performing compulsions to abate the intrusive thought, “What if I throw up?” Compulsions include not finishing all the food on their plate, only eating at certain times or rereading expiration dates on food packaging. People may avoid restaurants where they previously felt nauseous or heard of someone becoming nauseous. They may also count calories to make sure they don’t go over a specific, self-determined limit at which they fear they will vomit. 3. Hit-and-Run OCD Drivers with hit-and-run OCD fear they may have run someone over. A bump in the road triggers the intrusive thought that they hit someone, and then the compulsion is to drive back and check the road. People with this type of OCD will often be late to work or miss appointments because they start driving in a loop, checking the same spots over and over to ensure they didn’t hurt anybody. 4. Relationship OCD “Does my partner love me? Am I actually attracted to my partner? What if I cheated on my partner, but can’t remember it?” The hallmark of this type of OCD is an intrusive thought that seems to threaten a person’s relationship. The compulsion may be asking for reassurance, checking to see if they’re attracted to someone else, ruminating or doing research to “prove” they love their partner. 5. Harm OCD One trait that characterizes many OCD sufferers is a great concern for other people’s well-being, safety or happiness. This makes intrusive thoughts of harming someone very distressing, yet very common for the exact same reason — uncomfortable thoughts become more intrusive over time as the person begins to fear them. People with harm OCD often have thoughts of punching, pushing or stabbing someone they love. New parents may be terrified of dropping their baby or otherwise hurting them somehow. Then, they may compulsively try to remember harming someone, ask others to ensure they didn’t do anything wrong or frequently check on their loved ones. Closely related to — or perhaps a subtype — of harm OCD is pedophilia OCD, where a person is intensely worried that they may be a pedophile. This type of OCD often afflicts new parents. The intrusive thought is that they might be attracted to a child, and unlike with pedophilia, the thought causes extreme anxiety and disgust. Compulsions often involve not looking at children, asking for reassurance, doing research or trying to gauge their attraction to adults. 6. Scrupulosity OCD “Did I accidentally break a rule? Did I tell a lie?” People with scrupulosity OCD obsess over following the rules and being a good person. Many people with this type of obsessive-compulsive disorder are intensely religious. If they accidentally commit a transgression or even believe they did, then they may worry they’re a bad person or fear going to Hell. Compulsions often include excessively confessing their sins, performing cleansing rituals or writing prayers to make sure they’re done correctly. They may repeatedly seek reassurance from religious leaders. Several written reports from the 1600s, which may be the oldest known accounts of OCD, describe these exact behaviors. Understanding OCD Obsessive-compulsive disorder is not about organizing things for the sake of aesthetics. The three letters in OCD describe the condition perfectly: Obsessions trigger anxiety, anxiety triggers compulsions and compulsions trigger a disorder. This cycle usually repeats itself until a person gets the right medication and undergoes therapy. Although OCD often lingers despite these interventions, people with the disorder usually feel much better after taking these steps and can get their normal life back.
Are you interested in starting a meditation practice? Doing so has multiple benefits. It can ease mental health symptoms and even alleviate physical pain — and give you coping skills. Many people swear by it for attaining spiritual enlightenment. However, it can seem intimidating at first. Are you supposed to sit in a lotus pose? Chant “om?” Fortunately, getting started is easier than you think and need not necessarily entail any of the above. Here are five tips for meditation for beginners. 1. Start Small If you’ve never sat in meditation, try this experiment: set a timer for one minute. Then, do nothing — simply sit. Most people find that even this short period seems like an eternity. That’s one reason it’s crucial to start small when beginning a new meditation practice. Starting small is particularly important for people with histories of emotional trauma. While mindfulness practices are a useful part of many therapeutic treatment regimens, sitting quietly with nothing but thoughts for company can feel overwhelming. It can lead to rumination, perpetuating a negative feedback loop instead of bringing relief. Painful memories may resurface, which can turn you off the practice if you don’t have a skilled guide or therapist to help you process emerging emotions. However, such practices can also lead to breakthroughs. Your best bet is to work with a qualified professional. They should be kind and reassuring, reminding you that it’s okay to move and come out of meditation if it proves uncomfortable. They should also have a nonjudgmental ear and shoulder handy to help you process wherever emerges. Pro-tip: Stick to no more than two minutes for your first meditations. If you love the practice, gradually extend your sessions. 2. Create a Mood Advanced practitioners can enter a meditative state nearly anytime and anywhere. However, it helps to set a mood for your practice when mastering the art. Here are some ideas that can help you create the right mindset: Play some music: Tunes without lyrics are best, as words can distract you. Better yet, experiment with solfeggio frequencies or binaural beats, which aficionados swear by for their healing properties. You can find these for free on YouTube. Light a candle: A candle can serve as a Drishti or gazing focal point for your meditation. Staring into the dancing flame can direct your attention inward. Try aromatherapy: Citrus scents invigorate the senses and improve concentration. Lavender and chamomile relax you. Exotic fragrances like frankincense are great for spiritual insight. Above all, get comfortable. A zafu or meditation cushion can provide a comfortable resting spot if you prefer seated meditation. Those with back pain may find lying meditation more manageable— a yoga mat or other padded surface eases the ache. 3. Learn to Breathe Deep breathing is a part of nearly every meditation practice. That’s because these techniques activate your parasympathetic nervous system, the side that tells you to rest and digest. It helps create the right mindset for introspection. You have dozens of techniques you can use. The easiest is probably equal breathing, where you inhale for a count of five and exhale the same length. However, play with different techniques — everybody is different, and you may find other methods work better depending on your intention. 4. Study the Science Hitting the books might sound like an unusual tip for meditation for beginners. However, you might be one of the many skeptical about the benefits. Doubting the process can decrease your motivation, leading you to abandon your practice after only a session or two. Meditation is deep medicine, and it doesn’t work overnight. The changes you desire will come — but you must give it time and patience for the technique to work. Think of it this way: meditation carves new neural pathways in your brain, which is a lot like whacking your way through a dense jungle. It takes time to create a well-worn path, but the effort will make all future journeys much easier. If you still cast aspersions on what meditation can do for you, consider these potential benefits: Weight loss: 13 out of 19 studies in a recent meta-analysis found that mindfulness meditation can significantly improve weight loss efforts. Less pain: 30 out of 38 randomized clinical trials found mindfulness brings a small decrease in pain and statistically significant improvements in associated depression and quality of life. Ease anxiety: A recent study published in JAMA reveals that meditation works as effectively as a medication in easing anxiety symptoms. 5. Find the Right Guide Finally, the right guide can make or break your meditation practice. Fortunately, you don’t have to look far or invest much cash. YouTube is a veritable treasure trove of guided meditations. Listen to a few while you do other things to find gurus whose voices soothe you and whose messages uplift. Then, dig deep, getting into your meditation spot and doing the mental heavy lifting. If you have more money or want a deeper dive, look for area meditation classes. You’ll find different guides using various types of meditation — play around and discover the one that suits you best. Keep an open mind, as you may find other activities, like participating in a drum circle, equally beneficial. Of course, you don’t need any teacher or streaming service at all. All you really require is a bit of quiet and a place to sit, lie or stroll in silent contemplation. Tips for Meditation for Beginners Are you curious about meditation? This ancient practice has a host of benefits that can improve modern lives. Follow the above five tips for meditation for beginners to start your practice. You’ll enjoy improved mental, physical and spiritual health.
Forgiveness can be difficult, especially when someone you love and care about hurts you. There are many benefits to forgiveness that support your physical and mental well-being. When you forgive, it promotes a happier and healthier state in life. Here is how to forgive someone who hurt you. 1. Decide You Want to Forgive One of the more challenging parts of forgiving is getting to the point where you are ready to forgive. You may want to hold on to a grudge that you have forever and continue to feel the way you do towards someone. Emotional forgiveness can be harder since memories can trigger how you feel during a situation. Sometimes forgiveness can come on its own through time. You may realize that one day you are not angry or hurt about a situation anymore. Although this day will come, a proactive approach is to decide it is time to forgive. You will be on the road to recovery quicker by choosing to forgive. 2. Take Your Time You may expect it to happen instantly when you finally decide to forgive. Just because you decide to forgive doesn’t mean your emotions will disappear immediately after. Choosing to forgive is only the first step. You should lower your expectations for feeling like everything is entirely back to normal. This applies to the forgiveness process and the decision to forgive. If you just recently had an argument, you want to take your time with the process. It may take time to sort your thoughts and feelings, but forgiveness will come at the right moment. 3. Forgive for You Forgiveness should not be done for the person that hurt you but something you do for yourself. The emotional damage can cause stress and anxiety to you over time. Letting go of an issue can help you feel better, along with forgiving a person that deserves it. You don’t want to apologize and forgive when you aren’t ready since it may not feel like you actually meant it. When you forgive too quickly, the insincerity can hurt worse than the original damage done. Real heartfelt forgiveness allows the emotions to be released instead of pent-up anger from a forced apology. 4. Empathize With Who Hurt You When someone hurts you, you immediately think negatively about them. You may ask yourself how they could do something like that or if they even care about your feelings. You can put yourself in the other person's shoes and see where their actions came from. This does not mean you justify their behavior, but it is a tool to get on the road to forgiving. This practice can protect your feelings from getting hurt, depending on the situation. 5. Talk Out Your Feelings Once the time is right, talking or writing out your feelings can help. You can talk to friends or loved ones about the situation to see if they have any insight or just need someone to listen. Your feelings are connected to your behavior so holding onto what hurt can have you acting in undesirable ways. Sitting down with a pen and paper can be therapeutic if you choose to write your feelings. You can freely express your thoughts and feelings without saying them to another person. Whatever you write is strictly for you and you can do with the note whatever you want. Forgiveness is Key to Healing When learning how to forgive someone who hurt you, you are being kind to yourself. It is a way to eliminate stressors since holding on is not healthy for you mentally and emotionally. You may need to work on forgiving, but with time you will learn to on to better things.
When a friend or family member suffers from depression, it is difficult to see. You want to do anything you can to help them and let them know they are not alone. Around 280 million people in the world suffer from depression. The symptoms can vary, but when you notice the signs, you can take action to do your part. Here is how to help someone with depression. Common Symptoms Depression looks different for everyone and symptoms can vary. You can look for combinations of these things since most people have more than one symptom. Certain ones may be more noticeable than others. Here are some signs you can look out for: Pessimistic and less hopeful for the future Seem sad and express feelings of guilt and worthlessness Unusually irritable Seem less interested in spending time and communicate less Have less energy Neglect basic hygiene like showering Sleep too much or not enough Eat more or less than usual Less interest in activities they love Talk about death or suicide How to Help Someone with Depression Whether your gestures are big or small, trying to help someone with their depression will not go unnoticed. A lot of the time, having someone supporting them is one of the main reasons they want to work to get themselves out of it. These are some things you can do to support someone with depression. Help Them Find Support Your loved one may not even realize that they are struggling with depression and don’t know what to do about it. Suggesting professional help, like going to a therapist, may sound intimidating, but it could make a big difference. You can help them sort through the potential therapists and encourage them to reach out to make the appointment. Even before the first session, you can help them with what they want to discuss with the therapist. What You Can Say It can be hard to figure out what to say to someone struggling with depression. You will want to use positive and supportive language instead of things that can potentially make your loved one feel worse. Phrases like “everyone goes through hard times” and “try to look on the bright side” can cause people with depression to feel like what they are feeling is not valid and continue to live the way they are. When you feel like you are at a loss for words but want to be supportive, here are some things you can say to comfort your loved one with depression. “You are not alone and I am here during this difficult time.” “Although it is hard to believe, these feelings will change.” “Even though I don’t understand how you feel, I am here and want to help.” Offer to Help with Daily Tasks When someone is struggling with depression, everyday tasks can be a challenge. Whether it is laundry, groceries or doing dishes, these tasks can be overwhelming and leave your loved one not knowing where to start. If you notice things around the house seem unorganized or like no food is in the house, offer to go grocery shopping with them or help pickup around the house. Minor help with tasks can make them more manageable to do. The Main Takeaway Dealing with depression makes every day difficult. No matter the severity, it makes life more challenging for someone. Having a support system will help your loved ones navigate this time in life even when it feels like you aren’t doing much.
The fear of flying is a common anxiety that affects around 25 million adults in the United States alone. Aerophobia is a real condition and shouldn’t cause you shame or embarrassment. Recently, a flight attendant went viral for kneeling in an aisle to comfort a panicked passenger. Whether for work or visiting loved ones, flying is necessary to get where you need to go quickly. Fear makes this much harder on you and a panic attack could lead to an in-flight emergency. Thankfully, there are ways to make the experience easier. Here are five ways to overcome the fear of flying. 1. Learn Your Triggers Often, anxiety and panic revolve around triggers. One of the best ways to conquer your fear of flying is to learn about the flight that triggers you. You might be able to do this on your own or require a therapist's help. You need to identify what about flying causes your anxiety. For many people, it’s the fear of a plane crash. Others don’t like the idea of feeling trapped for the flight. Some people are anxious about a high-jacking or another violent event. These concerns are valid and pinpointing them is the first step to overcoming them. 2. Educate Yourself For most, flying involves elements of the unknown. One way to calm your worries about flying is to get educated on the process of flying–from when you get to the airport to when you land at your destination. Learn about the worst-case scenarios and what measures are in place to protect you and other passengers. Research how the plane you are on operates and the policies airlines have in place for maintenance and pilot care. Many flight attendants and pilots post videos on websites like YouTube that explain things from their point of view. As odd as it may sound, watching documentaries on plane disasters could help if they explain what went wrong and the new measures in place to stop it from happening again. It is also worth taking flying lessons from a certified instructor where you can feel in control of the situation as you learn the inside knowledge of operating a plane. 3. Control What You Can Unless you’re flying the plane, there’s not much you can do to control your flight. That seems scary but can be relaxing once you learn to control what you can. Some things are relatively controllable. You can control what time you get to the airport, what you pack and whether or not you check a bag. Other things possible to control are what section of the plane you sit in, what time you fly and which layover you have. You may not be able to control all of this in emergencies, but focusing on what you can make you feel better about the flight. 4. Bring Noise-Cancelling Headphones Loud noises can increase anxiety. Your mind gets overwhelmed by the sounds of other passengers putting away their luggage, babies crying and the constant chattering. You can’t expect any less, so preparing is the best way. Noise-canceling headphones can reduce the noise on a plane, helping you relax. You can play your favorite music or soothing sounds to relax throughout your flight. Bring an eye mask and pillow to try and sleep during your flight or hook the headphones to a computer or tablet and watch a relaxing show. 5. Talk to a Professional Aerophobia is a serious condition that could need treatment by a mental health professional. There’s no shame in talking to an expert who can help you navigate the situation and healthily handle your anxiety. There are various in-person and virtual therapists, and you can navigate databases online to find who might be the right fit for you. Handling Flying Fears The fear of flying can be hard to conquer, but taking the right measures can help you conquer and face those fears so that you can travel confidently in the future.