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Real life: conquering fear of flying

Emma Forsyth, owner of Pilates Plus Dublin

"I have a rather strange fear of flying, in that I am not afraid on every flight.

"I am okay on some and then, while getting ready for others, I will worry for a few days beforehand and have a terrible anxious feeling in my tummy.

"I always have to know exactly how close to the emergency exits I am, and I will always try to sit at the front of the plane.

"I always check my seatbelt with OCD-like frequency. I once read that if the seatbelt is not extremely tight, the pressure of a crash can make you slide out underneath it, even if you think it is secure, so I practically crush myself with it.

"I was once on a flight when the fear kicked in during a small bout of turbulence, and I had to ask the stranger sitting beside me if I could hold her hand. I am sure she thought I was very strange.

"I always make sure I have easy reading to keep myself occupied. Earplanes (ear plugs for relieving ear discomfort) help as I think part of my fear is due to the effect flying can have on my ears, sinuses and head, which can make me feel pretty crap.

"I also find I am, funnily enough, a lot more anxious on shorter flights than on long-haul ones. So, I make sure I take lots of Kalms beforehand and on board with me.

"Breathing as I would do in a Pilates class is great, too, as it is very calming. Often, it is the lack of proper breathing that makes people more tense, anxious and nervous."