Fear of flying is one of the most common phobias, affecting up to 6.5% of the world’s population. It can be an intense experience and can significantly affect your quality of life. Fortunately, there are ways to manage the fear of flying and reclaim your freedom in the skies.
What Is Fear of Flying?
Fear of flying, also known as aviophobia, is an intense and irrational fear of planes and other forms of air travel. It can be triggered by a variety of factors, such as a past traumatic experience or the fear of being in an enclosed space. It can cause physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, and difficulty breathing. It can also lead to anxiety and panic attacks.
Understanding the Cause
The first step in tackling a fear of flying is to understand its root cause. It is important to identify any underlying fears and anxieties that may be driving the fear. Common triggers include fear of heights, fear of the unknown, fear of enclosed spaces, fear of crashing, and fear of turbulence.
Preparing for the Flight
Once you have identified the cause of your fear, it is time to prepare for the flight. Preparation is key to reducing anxiety and helping you stay calm in the air.
• Research the flight: Research the flight ahead of time and familiarize yourself with the aircraft and its safety features. This can help to reduce anxiety and increase confidence.
• Prepare for turbulence: Turbulence is a normal part of flying and is nothing to be afraid of. Understanding how turbulence works can help reduce your fear of it. For those who are looking to take the next step in conquering their fear of flying & turbulence, taking a fear of flying course may be the best option.
• Create a calming environment: Consider bringing items that help you relax and create a calming environment. This could include music, a book, or even a sleep mask.
• Talk to the flight crew: Flight attendants are there to help you and can be a great source of reassurance and comfort. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for assistance if needed.
• Practice relaxation techniques: Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery. These techniques can help to reduce anxiety and keep you calm during the flight.
• Seek professional help: If your fear is severe, consider seeking professional help. A therapist can help you identify and address the underlying cause of the fear and develop coping strategies.
Managing Anxiety During the Flight
Once the flight begins, it is important to stay calm and focus on the present moment.
• Stick to your routine: Stick to the routine you have practiced prior to the flight. This can help to keep you grounded and in the present moment.
• Stay busy: Keep yourself busy with activities such as reading, listening to music, or watching a movie.
• Focus on your breathing: Take deep breaths to help reduce anxiety and keep your body relaxed.
• Talk to the flight crew: Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it. The flight crew is there to help and can provide reassurance.
• Don’t avoid turbulence: Turbulence is normal and nothing to be scared of. Accept it and focus on your breathing to remain calm.
• Stay positive: Remind yourself that you are safe and that the fear is irrational. Focus on positive thoughts and affirmations.
• Stay hydrated: Staying hydrated can help to keep you calm and reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety.
• Don’t avoid flying: Facing your fear is the only way to overcome it. Don’t avoid flying, as this can make the fear worse.
Fear of flying is a common phobia that can have a significant impact on your life. But with the right preparation and techniques, it is possible to manage the fear and reclaim your freedom in the skies. By understanding the cause, preparing for the flight, and managing anxiety during the flight, you can make flying a much more enjoyable experience.