Scared of flying? If you’re reading this there’s a good chance you are and if you don’t want to miss your next flight because your anxiety took over and didn’t let you board the plane, read on.
Whether you have a fear of crashing, claustrophobia or you’re scared of having a panic attack onboard, you can overcome aviophobia.
These tips from experts will help you overcome your fear of flying. After reading this, you will have made a great step toward hopping on a plane.
So let's learn how to fight your fear of flying!
1. Start by Identifying Your Fear
If you’re feeling anxious about flying in the comfort of your two feet touching the ground, then logically it’s not flying that scares you, it’s the thought of it.
Try to identify the triggers that make you feel anxious. For some people, the fear comes as soon as they arrive at the airport. For others, fear catches up once they have on board and they have buckled their seatbelt.
Identifying what activates your unease, will help you better anticipate and manage it. Carrying a simple elastic band around your wrist to ping your hand when triggers occur can be a very efficient way of distracting yourself. In most cases your anxiety is greatest during the period leading up to your flight but is significantly lesser during it.
Research shows that the anxiety state before boarding the plane is actually worst than the fact of flying. Identify when you start becoming anxious and follow the next tips.
2. Don't Mistake Fear for Danger
Another fascinating trick that your mind plays on you is that it masks fear as danger. Your body responds to both sensations in a similar fashion and that is why it’s important that you distinguish between the two.
While it is necessary that danger cause alert, it is also equally important that you don’t let fear manipulate you into feeling in danger.
Know this: when you're in a plane, you're not in danger. Get on the plane with the following facts in mind.
3. Learn About Airplanes and Pilots
Planes are built to go through any natural element and make it safely on the other side. Airplanes are designed to withstand turbulence.
Pilots are trained to deal with emergencies and refresh these skills regularly. Even in the unlikely eventuality of an engine failure, the pilot would still be able to land it safely. Airplanes go through ten times more hours of maintenance than flying hours.
Little things such as knowing that Rolls-Royce engines are designed with 99.999% reliability or that even in the highly unlikely event of engine failure the plane could still be landed safely, is what puts you in charge of your flight experience.
And while it may be easy to get tunnel vision on your flight alone, just remember, the chances of being part of a plane crash are one in 10 million which also ranks along the line of your odds of being fatally struck by lightning or becoming an astronaut.
According to Arnold Barnett from MIT, when flying in a developed country, your chances of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 30 million only. This will not happen to you.
If you're scared that the door of the plane will open mid-flight, know that 20,000 pounds of pressure hold it shut. Even if you wanted to, you couldn't open it.
4. The Hardest Part is When Turbulence Occurs
Passengers with a fear of flying are particularly scared of turbulence. That's perfectly normal, even passengers who like flying can't help but feeling ill-at-ease when it happens!
The problem is that during turbulence, we focus our whole attention on it: how strong they are, how long they last. We keep remembering the catastrophe movies we've seen. If you start doing that, pinch yourself or do something that you get you back to reality.
Rather than thinking about its intensity or duration, and I know how hard it is, focus on something else. People who meditate use breathing exercises and visualize themselves in a comfortable environment. If it works for you, awesome. If not, I recommend reading something or playing a game on your phone: do something that will require your full attention.
5. Prepare Yourself for the Flight
Stop reading books and watching movies about plane crashes. They just feed your imagination in an unfavorable way.
Book a seat toward the front of the plane: it's usually quieter and less bumpy, which is partly why the First and Business classes are located there.
Consider opening up to your neighbors on the plane: let them know that you don't feel comfortable when you're flying. Kindly ask if they could try to distract you if the plane hits turbulence. Sharing your fears as well as what helps alleviate the stress with them will prepare them and also give them the chance help you out should they need to.
If all of the above isn't enough...
6. Take Stronger Measures
Many airlines organize workshops at the airport dedicated to passengers willing to overcome they fear of flying. They usually introduce you to pilots and psychologists who demonstrate how safe it is to travel by plane.
If you are already seeing a therapist, tell her about the issue. Therapists can help you identify your fear triggers and provide ways to cope with them. At the very least, they might prescribe you some medication to help relieve stress on board.
You can also take the matter into your own hands and gradually expose you to your fear. If the airport makes you feel uncomfortable, try hanging out there for a while when you don't have a plane to take. Get familiar with the surroundings, look at planes taking-off and landing. When it gets boring (and it will be, eventually), visualize yourself boarding a plane while you are seating in the hall. What sucks is that you can't board a plane just to see how you feel. Do it mentally a few times while you're comfortably seating with your feet on the ground, just for preparation.
Final Words on Overcoming Your Fear of Flying
You're not the first person afraid of flying and you're not the last. Thousands, if not millions, have been where you are now. But just as many have overcome this fear and now reap the benefits of traveling.
I'm sure you're the next one!
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