I would be the first to admit how incredibly ironic it is to have wanderlust, and yet have a crippling fear of heights, which leads to also being terrified at the thought of sitting in a gigantic tin can zooming at an average of 600 miles per hour, 36000 feet up in the air. And yet, I continuously subject myself to the fear as I schedule getaway after getaway, wondering when the technology for teleportation will finally be developed even as I’m busy booking my tickets and planning my itinerary.

However, I’ve come to rely on several hacks to allow myself to have a more pleasant experience during flights, and now I only grip the arm rests about 25% of the time. Usually during takeoffs and landings.

1. Load up some music to calm you down before your flight.

It starts even before you get on that plane. Download a list of relaxing songs to listen to prior to your flight, as it’ll help with anxiety levels and distract you from the fact that you’re currently 36000 feet up in the air. I always have a playlist that consists of indie Korean RnB songs, because it reduces the risk of me actually singing aloud and potentially scaring my seatmates.

2. Learn some breathing exercises.

Sometimes, a couple of simple exercises to help regulate your breathing go a long way towards calming yourself down. They allow you to focus on centering yourself rather than letting your environment have control over your anxiety-riddled thoughts.

3. Don’t count on the in-flight entertainment; bring your own.

I’m not a millionaire, so I don’t usually choose the business or first class option seat in a flight. I am very much accustomed to the level of comfort some budget airlines may offer, or rather, lack thereof. This extends to their in-flight entertainment, which is why I’m usually prepared with at least two books and a couple of movies as well as TV shows on my preferred gadget.

4. Listen to the safety briefing.

As I have travelled somewhat extensively, I’m always tempted to tune out the safety briefing at the beginning of the flight. However, different airlines will have different instructions, and it helps to listen to a composed and authoritative voice giving you advice regarding any emergencies.

5. Turbulence is a minor inconvenience, and not a sign of impending doom.

Action movies that revolve around the hijacking or the malfunctioning of a plane have definitely contributed to my personal phobia. However, it is important to keep in mind that turbulence is, contrary to popular belief, usually a mild annoyance for the pilots (rather than a sign that one should be preparing to recite the kalimah).

6. Focus on why you’re on the plane in the first place.

I like to keep my travel plans in a notebook so I would be able to have a look at them when it’s a little more difficult to distract myself. Having a reminder of why you have subjected yourself to this particular anxiety will at least help to cut through the anxiety and redirect your focus to what will happen when you finally get on sweet, solid ground.