A fear of flying is surprisingly common – over 20 percent of people experience some sort of anxiety when it comes to going on an airplane. Though many people do, avoiding flying altogether can have a huge impact on modern life, both from a travel enjoyment and a career perspective.
That’s why Virgin Australia has teamed up with Smiling Mind to ease the stress on nervous flyers – by way of mindfulness.
“Travel anxiety is a huge problem. We know that on any given flight there is going to be a number of people feel really anxious, and often that’s in the lead up to the flight as well as on the flight,” Smiling Mind CEO, Dr Addie Wootten told Mamamia.
Now before you write off meditation woowoo or something that can’t possibly help anxiety, let’s look at the science.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, US, found 47 trials on the effectiveness of mindfulness on anxiety that met their criteria for well-designed studies. Their findings suggested that mindful meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression and pain.
“Mindfulness is a precise that helps people to turn down the anxiety, to switch off the cortisol that’s released into our system and make sure that were breathing deeply and actually focusing on the present moment, rather than thinking about what might happen, which our mind is very capable of doing. So it helps to focus, and that focus helps to reduce anxiety,” Dr Wootten said.
The partnership sees Virgin Australia guests gain access to Smiling Mind guided meditations via the Inflight Entertainment System.
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