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Afraid of flying? Try writing your name with the wrong hand

More than 20 million people have aviophobia: fear of flying. But there are simple (and surprising) tips that can help.
/ Source: TODAY

More than 20 million people have aviophobia: fear of flying. And one of them is Rossen Reports producer Jovanna Billington. Recent cases of severe air turbulence don't help.

At Air Hollywood, a state-of-the-art facility with a huge, real-life turbulence simulator, Capt. Ron Nielsen, a 40-year veteran pilot, said he could cure Jovanna with a few simple tips:

During takeoff: As the plane is rolling down the runway, tighten all your muscles for about 30 seconds, then release. "You are releasing all those chemicals, the adrenaline, the cortisol," Nielsen said. You will feel calmer.

During turbulence: Put a pen in your opposite hand from what you normally use and write your name. "It first causes her to focus extra hard on what she's doing because she doesn't normally write with her other hand," Nielsen explained to TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen. "The second thing is, it is actually crossing over her motor function in her brain using the other side of her brain from what she would normally do, and we are disrupting her thinking."

Pre-order Jeff Rossen's new book, 'Rossen to the Rescue'

If you still can't calm down: Grab a drinking straw and start breathing through it. It prevents you from hyperventilating.

It's important to point out that turbulence cannot bring a plane down: It never has and pilots say it never will, because airplanes are designed to withstand much more force than even severe turbulence could ever bring. Just make sure you're buckled up when the pilot puts the light on.

Meantime, while Jovanna Billington says her fear isn't completely gone since using these tips, she already sees a big improvement!

Pre-order Jeff Rossen's new book, 'Rossen to the Rescue'