By Libby Ryan
Virgin Australia recently launched a new feature to help calm down passengers who begin to panic when the plane leaves the ground: in-flight meditation. The airline wants to give anxious travelers some peace of mind through the mindfulness practice, provided by non-profit Smiling Mind. Fearful flyers can access guided meditation programs through the in-flight entertainment system, but Virgin isn’t the only airline bringing meditation to the skies.
Difficulty breathing is one of the primary symptoms of anxiety, especially anxiety related to claustrophobia, fear of heights or a lack of control — all common reasons behind a fear of flying. But meditation is all about concentrating on your breath. Focusing on a simple “breathe in, breathe out” mantra is the key to many forms of the practice, so for the 25 percent of travelers who have travel anxiety, meditation can help alleviate the physical symptoms of those aviation worries.
Popular meditation app Headspace lends its technology to various airlines (including United Airlines, JetBlue, Swiss Air, Air Canada, Virgin Atlantic and Delta Airlines) to provide in-flight mindfulness and meditation programming.
American Airlines is getting in on the mindfulness game too, partnering with the Calm app to give flyers access to meditation, mindfulness and sleep programming. So even if you’re not feeling anxious about your flight, you can have some easy listening to coax you into some shut-eye on the plane.
For those wanting a little more zen with for their flight, consider Cathay Pacific. The airline worked with Pure Yoga to come up with stretches and poses that can be done right in your seat on the plane to ease tension in your body and let your mind relax even more. This in-flight programming is especially meant for long-haul flights where you’re sitting for an extended period of time.
Virgin Australia flights also let passengers warn staff about their fears even before boarding the plane via an online form. That way, the flight crew can be extra alert and provide helpful tips for staying calm in the air.
Does your favorite airline lack any built-in meditation services? You can always download them ahead of time to your phone or computer. Just don’t forget some noise-blocking headphones!
Originally published on The Ladders.
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