Long plane flights can really suck, especially if you don’t have some useful activities up your sleeve. There are only so many movies you can watch or talking to your neighbor you can do before your brain feels fried. I remember when I first started embarking on long flights over ten years ago, while traveling back and forth between Europe and Australia, I dreaded it. In fact I covered my face and pretended I wasn’t there and didn’t exist.

Soon enough after realizing how non-useful that approach was I found some useful activities to do, which actually made me look forward to long flights! Yes a fifteen in a half hour flight (LA to Sydney) can be fun and awesome if you take the right approach.

Here are some proactive things I do before and during long flights that make them more enjoyable and useful of my time.

1. Switch your mindset

In order to enjoy the activities you do on the plane it’s important to firstly change your attitude. I went from covering my face and thinking “I don’t want to be here, help” to looking forward to all the spare time I had to myself on the plane. Being on long flights actually forces to you to relax and take time out. It allows you to do the things you never have time to do such as meditate, read, or watch the movie you’ve wanted to see for months. You have no choice but to chill out and limit your use of technology.

We are constantly busy and thinking of what we have to do next – text that person, get that email out, finish that work project, pay this bill etc. Often when we get the chance to relax we are bored and don’t know what to do. By looking at a long flight as the perfect opportunity to take time out for you and to relax will transform the whole experience – trust me!

2. Focus on your goals

Before you go on your trip make a list of all the important (not urgent) things in your life you want to do. In Stephen Covey’s life changing book ‘First Things First’ he illustrates in his time management matrix that most of us are busy responding to urgent things and wasting time procrastinating. Which means we don’t get the non-urgent yet important activities done, which are focused on our life purpose.

Make a list of what goals you are working towards in each area of your life that corresponds with your life purpose. Include physical (health), social (relationships), mental (career), and spiritual (growth). Once you have this list you can work out what activities you can do on the plane that will support these goals – including journaling, reading books, doing a course, drawing etc.

3. Equip yourself

Now you have the right attitude and a list of important goals you can equip yourself with the tools you need for your flight to support some of these goals. Bring a journal to expand on your goals and continue to map out your future. Load up your mp3 player with audio recordings of a course you want to do or relaxing music. Bring one or two books or load your Kindle with the information that supports your goals. Bring a tablet to store music, courses or books you need to learn and grow.

4. Meditate

There is only so much learning you can do before you need a break and meditation is the perfect way to relax, recharge and gain more clarity. If you don’t have a regular meditation practice here are 3 easy ways you can get started:

  1. Focus point. Start by closing your eyes and focusing on your breath going in an out. If thoughts come up bring your attention back to your breath. Set a timer for between 5 – 10 minutes and go longer if you can.
  2. Guided meditation. Load up your phone or mp3 player before you go with a guided meditation and go on a journey. Purpose Fairy website has some good YouTube guided meditations as does Deepak Chopra. You can even Google search to see which MP3s resonate with you.
  3. Mantras. Focus on one mantra or affirmation and repeat it over and over as a way to relax. You can choose a good Sanskrit mantra to bring about things in your life such as love, abundance or the removal of obstacles. If that doesn’t appeal to you then try creating your own affirmation such as ‘I am fully supported by the universe (or god)’ or ‘I am grateful for all the things in my life’.

5. Transform your energy through music

Music has the power to transform your thoughts and energy from boredom and frustration to relaxation and bliss in seconds, if you listen to the right music. I love listening to positive music and mantras that make me feel relaxed and happy. Load up your MP3 player with some cool Kirtan mantra artists such as Jai Uttal and Krishna Das or Kundalini legend Snatam Kaur and watch as your heart opens. Listen to artists with positive messages in their lyrics such as Nakho Bear, Xavier Rudd and MC Yogi, to help elevate your mind and inspire you to achieve your life goals.

Now you are all set to enjoy your next long flight. Please comment below with your thoughts or added tips for long flights.