Peace of Mind on the Plane, Counting to 100 During Takeoff

If you’re worried about flying, here’s one way to calm your nerves at the start of your flight: count to 100.

Slowly. Stable. Match the numbers with your breathing: inhale at 1, exhale at 2, and so on.

This is a habit I developed after reading Patrick Smith’s book Confidential Cockpit: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel (a great book for those who hate flying, as it explains why most of our fears are wrong). As Smith explains:

Not that you should, but if you insist on being nervous, take off is your time – from just before take off to the first twenty seconds or so of the flight.

You can count to twenty, but I prefer to count to a hundred. It focuses my mind, focuses my breathing, keeps me from thinking about all the bumps and knocks, and I usually hit 100 right away when the flight attendants make their first welcome announcement. If they feel safe enough to start on-board service, I can feel safe enough to relax and enjoy the flight.

Feel free to count during turbulence or landing, or simply inhale and exhale with your favorite soothing mantra. (I like “I am here” – I inhale, exhale here .)


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