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Fear of flying is probably one of the most common fears. In fact it’s estimated that 1 out of 10 people is afraid to fly.
Flying today is safer than it’s ever been, but that doesn’t seem to calm some people’s nerves. A phobia like a fear of flying can seriously impact your life. For example, making it impossible to travel for business or pleasure.
An entire world of opportunity can be hindered, by not conquering this fear. So how exactly can someone conquer this phobia and get on with their lives?
We’ve compiled some quick tips from the experts on how to get a handle on your fear of flying:
What Causes Phobia & Panic?
Being afraid has very real physical symptoms. In fact, many people who are afraid to fly, are actually more concerned about their reactions, than the actual flight.
The physical reactions to fear can be increased heart rate, sweating, feeling flushed, and even passing out.
It’s important to understand that there’s nothing inherently “wrong” about being afraid to fly. Also, of all the phobias, it’s one of the easiest to overcome.
Understanding Your Fear Triggers
It’s interesting to note, that usually a fear of flying, has nothing to do with the flight itself. Many people suffering from this phobia, have had a significant and recent change in their lives.
This can include a family members passing, divorce, change of job, or moving. This is why some people may suddenly be afraid to fly, after years of doing so with no issues.
Take some time to think about recent life events. Has there been a big change – or is there an impending change that you dread?
Understanding and coming to terms with the stress in your life, can actually help you lower your anxiety about flying.
Chances are you may be in “panic mode” about your life, which is feeding into your fear of travelling by plane.
Coping With Anxiety
As mentioned before, when we become stressed out, our bodies have real physical reactions. These sensations can make us feel out of control.
We may also perceive perfectly safe situations as dangerous. This is because your mind is on “hyper-alert” and anticipating having to react defensively.
Learning to come down from a panic attack and calm your nerves, is probably the best thing you can do to conquer your flying fear.
One simple method is to learn to breathe. Simply take 10 slow and deep breaths. It’s important to not breathe too fast, as that can lead to hyperventilation.
Instead, take one slow deep breath in. Next, exhale in a slow and even breath. Now count slowly from 1 to 10 with each exhale.
Make sure that you are sitting comfortably, and with your eyes closed. Practice doing this, until you feel relaxed.
Reduce Your Overall Stress
Sometimes we can become so focused on our busy daily lives, that we forget to do things we enjoy.
Being too busy, can lead to anxiety. In fact, you can become so wound up, that you aren’t able to “come down”.
If you want to lower your anxiety with flying, then it’s time to reduce your overall anxiety. Before you fly, avoid stressful situations.
Also, plan your flight carefully. Ensure that you have enough time to check-in and register for your flight.
Have everything you need to fly organized and ready to go. This includes luggage, passports, and other items you’ll need.
Also, instead of driving yourself have a friend or taxi take you. This will keep your overall anxiety low, making it easier for you to fly.
Your overall goal is to change your perspective, so that you don’t feel out of control.
Know The Facts About Flying
Sometimes it’s possible to have a distorted view of flying and how safe it is. Remember, for every disaster story you hear on the news, thousands of flights arrive safely at their daily destinations.
Flying is perfectly safe, and countless people fly daily.
The average pilot has accrued an enormous amount of flight hours and safety training. In fact, a large percentage of pilots were members of the Air Force, which produces the best pilots in the world.
Each plane is routinely inspected and maintained by top experts. Also, flight technology has never been better. Every plane is loaded with redundant back up systems, to help ensure the safest flight possible.
Avoid Negative Thinking
It’s easy to be caught in the trap of negative thinking. The good news is, it’s just as easy to break the cycle.
Counter your negative thoughts with positive ones. Visualize yourself landing at your destination safe and sound.
Not only that, focus on all the fun things you’re going to see and do when you reach your destination. The secret is training your brain to focus on pleasurable ideas as opposed to negative ones.
Make Yourself Laugh
Laughter is one of the best stress reducers. If possible bring a tablet or laptop with a funny movie on it.
You could also bring something humorous to read along with you. Adding a little laughter to your flight experience can go a long way towards lowering anxiety.
Having a good laugh is good for your overall health anyway, so why not indulge?
Bring Something That Makes You Feel Good
Many people have a favourite item like a pillow or sweater that makes them wind down when they are feeling stressed.
So why not bring an item from home that makes you feel a little better? Of course there are some items you can’t bring along on a plane.
However, soft goods are usually a safe bet. This can include a pillow or even a lap blanket. Make sure whatever you choose is something that you can easily stow in your carry on luggage.
You can even upload photos of your loved ones, onto your smart phone. Having pictures from home, is a reminder of how great your life is, and can help you relieve your stress about flying.