Travel Tips

How to Overcome Your Fear of Flying

“I hate flying!”

Do you, or are you afraid to fly?

Research has shown that the fear of flying afflicts millions of people, despite it being one of the safest ways to travel. This is a serious problem that can stem from a fear of enclosed spaces, terrorism or the fear of heights. Even if we know our fear is irrational, it doesn’t mean it’s non-existent. Aviophobia is the scientific term for a fear of flying…and it’s a seriously big deal. It can make you dread or even avoid plane travel.

Does fear of flying keep you grounded? If you constantly make excuses not to travel abroad and panic about getting on an airplane, there is help. Being terrified of flying IS something that can be conquered. Here are some top tips to overcome it for good, so you no longer feel fearful. Before you know it, you may even conquer your fear enough to become a frequent flyer!

fear of flying

Understand What’s Causing Your Fear

Whether you fear undergoing the terrifying experience of a plane crash, the claustrophobic feeling of being trapped on a plane, or you worry that you’ll have a panic attack while on board, understanding your fear is the first step toward beating it.

Some people fear heights, which is often associated with a fear of flying. And Type A personalities can feel uncomfortably out of control when flying. Generally speaking, fear of flying is a type of anxiety disorder, so the techniques used to calm anxieties can work well with this fear as well.

Learn to Control The Fear

If you suffer from severe anxiety, you probably don’t pay much attention to all the statistics about the safety of air travel. But learning about airplane travel can actually help a lot. If you’ve never flown before, take the time to discover what sights, sounds and sensations are a normal part of air travel. Familiarize yourself with the range of normal, but odd, noises and bumps and twists you may experience. This awareness can help you become less afraid of flying.

Keep in mind that most of these odd noises and bumps come during takeoff and landing. The main part of your flight is usually much smoother and easier to handle.

Learn about the science behind how jet airplanes work, and do consider the statistics. Wrap your mind around the fact that your chances of experiencing any kind of air disaster are extremely small. Fewer than 37 fatalities occur out of every 16 million flights. The chances of having a fatal car accident are 1,000 times higher.

Join a Support Group

The fear of flying is a common anxiety for many people, and you can find numerous clinics available to aid you in overcoming this phobia. A therapist can also provide one on one support and give you ideas on the various exercises to keep your mind calm during the flight. Sharing your experiences and fears with others and getting to the root of the problem can bring resolution to your anxiety.

Hire a Coach

If your fears are truly debilitating and interfering with your work or job-related travel, it’s time to call in a professional. Career coaches who specialize in overcoming phobias such as fear of flying can work with you to help you overcome your aviophobia. Your coach will help you delve inside your fears to discover what’s driving them, and give you tools and techniques for coping with anxiety and panic. You can learn to not only handle flying, but you’ll also pick up some top on-the-job techniques for common job-related problems.

Pretend the Plane is a Big, Noisy Bus

If all this learning hasn’t convinced you that you’re going to be OK, the next step is to get on a plane and pretend like you’re going to be OK. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a seat on a Greyhound bus riding down Route 66. Pretend any turbulence is just a bumpy road. And be sure to bring lots of distractions along, like a tablet computer, smartphone with earbuds, books, magazines, or anything else that keeps your mind occupied. Or get the headphones from the flight attendant and watch the in-flight movie.

Find a Distraction

Movies, music, or a good book are great distractions that will keep your mind focused on something other than your fear of flying. Select your music ahead of time and have it ready to go once you get on the plane. Soothing music can help keep you relaxed and calm, especially if you experience any turbulence in flight. If movies are more your thing, choose a comedy or drama that will keep you engrossed during your trip. You may want to skip horror flicks and disaster movies, as these will only build tension and could cause more anxiety. A best-selling novel can be a relaxing way to unwind and forget about your fears. Go for something lighthearted and fun.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

If you can’t psych yourself out of your fear, nor distract yourself from it, then consider standard relaxation techniques. Practice controlled, steady breathing exercises. Close your eyes and imagine that you’re some place else, such as a warm sunny beach or anywhere that makes you feel calm and happy. Focusing on small techniques like these can help you to conquer your immediate phobias.

The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a method of therapy that is quick and easy to master. The EFT technique relieves anxious symptoms by lightly tapping with your fingertips on specific meridian spots on your body. As you are tapping, you are getting rid of the negative energies and focusing on positive and happy thoughts. Areas on the head, face and upper torso are the power points on the body where people can tap to bring about the desired relief of their anxiety. EFT has been known to help those suffering from insomnia, claustrophobia, anger, depression, asthma and emotional and physical traumas. This positive form of therapy is like acupuncture, but without the use of needles. EFT is long lasting and works better than hypnosis and other more well known remedies.

Try Some Tranquilizers

If there’s really no way around it, make an appointment with your doctor. He or she can discuss prescribing a mild tranquilizer, anti-anxiety medications like Xanax, or a sleeping pill. Often, these medications can help you relax, and even sleep, through the flight. It’s best to take the pill once you’re on board so you don’t fall asleep in the airport and miss your flight.

However, your prescription may cause drowsiness or difficulty sleeping, depending on the type of drug that you have been prescribed. You must also make sure that you stay away from alcohol when taking medication to calm your nerves. Alcohol and prescription medication can make a lethal combination. Using prescribed medication is typically a last resort in getting over your fear of flying, as most professionals feel that you can overcome your anxiety without the help of pharmaceutical products.

Millions of people suffer from fear of flying. Fortunately, there are many tricks and techniques to help you overcome your fear, as well as trained professionals with the skills to get you on board and flying high. Don’t let the fear of flying cripple your plans and cause you to miss out on exciting opportunities or family get. The above tips are sure to help you find soothing relief and banish your anxiety, so you can fly calmly and enjoy the holidays with the people you love, no matter how far you travel to be with them.

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