At time it may feel like it, but you’re not the only one with a fear of flying. Some people have had aviation anxiety their entire lives, and may have never even set foot on a plane. Others have flown for years without issue, but overtime this fear has developed.
There is a big, exciting world out there waiting for you to discover. Don’t let a fear of flying prevent you from travelling! And, don’t struggle in fear through every flight you take – it will only get worse! So take back that control now with these 5 ways to overcome a fear of flying!
A lot of the time we are afraid of things we don’t fully understand. Read about aircraft and how they work. Find out why aircraft don’t just fall out of the sky, and then compare it to a person swimming in a pool. Find out what turbulence is, what causes it and why it’s nothing to worry about. Discover why turbulence is just like a car going over a bump in the road.
Looking at some statistics about flying can also help – you will find that there is a 1 in a million chance of a plane crash. Remind yourself of these statistics while you are 6 miles above ground or when you feel panic setting in. Check out sites like Flight Aware that show all the aircraft currently in the sky. Simply seeing the number of planes currently sharing the air can help support the statistic you have read, and remind yourself that flying is as common as jumping on a bus or in a car.
Having a basic understanding of flight physics, and discovering the real statistics surrounding commercial aviation definitely helps to ease a fear of flying.
Practice “Overcoming your Fear of Flying”
The same as you would if you were learning a new sport or instrument. This might seem a little strange, but if you program your mind to think about the process of overcoming your fear like you were learning a new skill, then the whole process will seem less terrifying. You’re more likely to find determination and focus, which will help you succeed. It might sound silly, but even things like playing flight simulation games have been known to help. Anything that will help you become more comfortable with the sight of the ground miles away.
Accept the Fear and Work With It
Surprisingly, those people that fear flying, but still fly, tend to try and fight fear. This is usually done through carrying good luck charms, praying, or holding on to the armrest for dear life. These acts actually strengthen the fear, making it seem real, and making it worse the next time you fly. People that do this are actually visualizing the worst, and are trying to fight their fear with bravery during this fictional event.
Instead, try and work with your fear by accepting it. Don’t try and fight it. There is a quote that I think sums this up quite well, “What you fear will not go away by constantly thinking about it, it will go away when you see it for exactly what it is.” This takes some practice and is definitely easier said then done, but it’s an important step in overcoming your phobia and taking back control.
Identify your “Panic Triggers”
It’s 2017, and when someone says “triggered”, an American college campus comes to mind. But this is different(thankfully). People fear flying for a number of different reasons. Some people don’t like the thought of being “trapped” on a plane. Some people fear crashing. Others fear death. It’s important to identify what it is about flying that you fear. Then look at what triggers it– is it the take off, the landing, smooth flying, turbulence etc.
Once you have identified your triggers, you can work towards reprogramming your mind and eliminating them. One simple and easy way you can do this is to put an elastic band around your wrist. Every time you are nervous or feel panic setting it, ping the elastic band. This will help you identify your triggers and to reprogram your way of thinking.
Sign up For a “Flying without Fear” Course
There are loads of different “fear management” courses out there that can help to equipp people with the tools to overcome their anxiety. Choose a course specifically designed for overcoming a fear of flying. A lot of airlines offer “flying without fear” courses. Virgin Atlantic offers a popular one-day course, which has received rave reviews. It’s also an opportunity to meet others’ that share your fear – sometimes it’s a relief to know that you’re not that only one out there that feels that way.
…And One More Thing
Aaron here…just couldn’t help add this one. Always remember, a doctor can prescribe Xanax and a person can self-prescribe liquor. I’ve seen it work wonder’s on nervous flyers. If you’re savvy enough to carry a card which provides access to Priority Pass, then you also have a club to look forward to before taking off and after landing.
If our quick guide hasn’t convinced you to confront your fear of flying, then seek professional help. By this of course, we mean you should read a book written by a professional. We like Soar: The Breakthrough Treatment For Fear Of Flying. Hope to see you at 35,000 feet, cheers!