Dear Annie: My wife is terrified of flying. Always has been. Back when we were deciding on a honeymoon destination, I convinced her we should try Hawaii -- and she spent the flight so on edge that it must have taken years off her life. I felt terrible. It was the last time she went on a plane. That was 15 years ago.
Her phobia hasn't interfered too much with our lives up until now. We live within driving distance of all her extended family members.
The issue has to do with my parents, who live out of state. They used to come visit us once a year, and I'd usually fly out to see them once a year on my own or with one of our kids. But they're getting older, and traveling is becoming more difficult for them. I would really like my wife to visit them with me at least once a year. She loves my parents, but she's so petrified of flying that she doesn't even consider it an option.
Do you have any tips to help calm the nerves of an anxious flier? Or should I give up trying to convince her? -- Grounded
Dear Grounded: It's time to ground your wife's nerves. Try to talk to her about what it is she is so afraid of. Is it the actual flying or that she might have a panic attack on the plane? Inquiring about her fears will help her feel supported and more connected to you.
After she opens up, she might consider trying hypnotherapy, which some formerly anxious fliers swear by. Cognitive behavioral therapy, which asks people to examine their thoughts and the evidence (or lack thereof) that they have for their thoughts, is another option. If you still can't get her to agree to planes, there are always trains and automobiles. Although a road trip requires more time off work, who knows? Maybe the traveling time would be a great bonding experience for you and your wife.
Dear Annie: I get so many return address labels in the mail that I could wallpaper my whole house with them! I did not ask for them, and I don't need them. They are such a waste. Could you please print the contact info for the office that people can call to get their names off these lists? You will be doing a lot of us a great service. -- Spammed
Dear Spammed: The Direct Marketing Association is a trade organization comprising thousands of businesses that send direct mail. In the interest of placating the public, DMA built a website, DMAchoice.org, that lets you adjust settings to receive less or different promotional mail.
In addition, register with CatalogChoice (https://www.catalogchoice.org), whose stated mission is "to stop junk mail for good." Another such nonprofit is 41pounds.org, named for the amount of junk mail the average American receives each year. There is no central database with which you can register to stop receiving all junk mail forever, but by dovetailing these free services, you can cancel a good amount of unwanted mail, reclaiming your inbox and sanity.
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