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Flying fear and what to do about it

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Header photo by Steven Coffey

According to a recent research, 25% of people in the U.S. experience some flying fear, and 10% have developed a true phobia. Cuskelly, C. (2017). This is where it’s starting to interfere with your personal life. This is the reason you might avoid booking plane tickets, and they prefer to travel by road. It might be preventing you to travel to different parts of the world, or make you unable to enjoy your life the way that you want. You should understand that flying fear is something you have developed due to over thinking. Wunderman, A. (2016).

Fear of flying commonly develops when you have heard or seen horror stories which make you believe that flying is dangerous. Whether you have a simple flying fear or a struggling with a true phobia. Here we have some simple tips that will help you overcome it.

flying fear program

1- Know your flying fear triggers

Before you can start working on your fear of flying, it is better that you understand the triggers that make you anxious. There are different reasons due to which people are afraid of flying. Some of the common triggers that you can consider are.

  1. You have a fear of dying (crash)
  2. You are afraid of heights
  3. You feel anxious because you feel a loss of control
  4. You feel anxious because of the size of the airplane (eg. claustrophobic) Cuskelly, C. (2017).

Once you understand your trigger points it will be easier for you to work on your fear.

2- Go on heights

In case you are scared of heights, it is best that you work on your phobia regularly. Even if you are not afraid of heights, going on the highest floor of the building will help you fight off your fear of flying. You will feel anxious and scared in the beginning, and that is ok. This is a form of exposure therapy. It will increase your level of confidence and you will be able to take all the required steps that will help you get rid of flying fear. Ettinger, N. (2014).

3- Get information about the safety features

If you are scared of the airplane and you think that it will end up being crashed it is better that you get information about the safety features of the plane. It will give you the perfect idea about all the safety measures that are taken in order to assure that you will have a safe ride. It will help you understand that plane crashes are rare and in case of emergencies pilots are trained for emergency landings to assure that lives can be saved. Wunderman, A. (2016). There are various websites where you can easily find the information related to safety features if airplane and where you can find your parachute and how to wear it. Also, you can follow an online program specific for flying fear.

4- Separate flying fear from danger

One of the most important things that you have to learn is to separate your fear from danger. It is a natural human instinct that when you are anxious or afraid you will feel like you are in danger. You have to make yourself understand that being anxious does not mean that you are in danger. Ettinger, N. (2014). That is the only way you will be able to take your first flight and enjoy the journey. You have to make yourself believe that you are safe in the aircraft and there is nothing that can hurt you. If you struggle with this, seek help from an anxiety professional.

5- Find an activity during turbulence

Most people get anxious during the turbulence due to which they are unable to proceed with the journey. You should get complete information about how the plane works and turbulence is safe for you Cuskelly, C. (2017). That is the only way you will be able to tolerate the few seconds of turbulence. During that time you can also find an activity that you can perform to distract yourself. It will keep your busy and make it easier for you to pass the tough time that has been disturbing you. Do something you usually enjoy, like listening to your favorite music or podcast for example.

6- Fly with someone you can trust

It is best that you fly with someone you can trust. It will give you the surety that there is someone sitting beside you who can protect you if you feel scared. Especially in the case of children, this can help a lot. You can keep talking to the person sitting next to you and he/she will motivate you to feel relaxed if you are confused or it is getting hard for you to calm down Compton, N. (2018). It will only happen in the first few flights, after that you will overcome the anxiety and it will get easier for you to travel alone. It is better to take small flights, in the beginning, to assure that you can land safely and get rid of fear of flying.

7- Do the opposite when you feel anxious

In order to control your flying fear the best solution is doing the opposite of what you are feeling. When you will start moving towards the plane, your gut feeling will tell you to move away because it is dangerous. The best thing you can do is forget about what you are feeling and enter the plane. It might sound cheesy or difficult, but embracing your fear really is the way out here. It means that you can successfully face your fear and you can easily and safely enjoy your flight. Wunderman, A. (2016).

flying fear program

Bottom line

You can overcome your flying fear with some good motivation and following the right strategies. However, if it is getting hard for you to sit in the airplane, it is better that you get help from the experts. Also, we can truly recommend you to follow the Take Off Today Program. This is an online course with contributions of a pilot that was in a crash himself. The team of experts will teach you the skills to overcome your fear of flying. They also have a complete money-back guarantee for the duration of the entire program. You can get more information about the program over here: http://www.fearofflyingphobia.com.

If interested, you also can get general guidance on overcoming anxiety by checking our free e-book. You will find some great tips and guidelines that you can apply to your flying fear.

References

Wunderman, A. (2016). 12 Steps to Getting Over Your Fear of Flying.

Ettinger, N. (2014). 12 Steps to Getting Over Your Fear of Flying.

Cuskelly, C. (2017). Fear of flying? Pilot reveals THIS is what you should do when caught in heavy turbulence.

Compton, N. (2018). How to Get Over Your Fear of Flying, Once and for All.


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Lee Deck

Lee is a co-founder of Understand Anxiety and past GAD sufferer. "My goal is to bring positivity and show people that anxiety is here to help us"

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