Research reveal that one out of every four of us has fear of flying. Some people try to avoid travelling by plane as much as they can whereas some simply refuse to board a plane. Whatever the case, such fears kill the joy of life. You might have been delaying the vacation of your dreams due to this fear. Let’s now look into the roots and the ways to beat the fear of flying. Happy reading!
Why do we fear flying?
Fear of flying is also known as aviophobia, and it can emerge at any age. This relatively common phobia actually has a very simple reason. The reason underlying the fear of flying is that we are a land-dwelling species. Not having evolved to fly is the cause of this fear.
When it comes to flying, the emotional part of our brain is activated. The emotional part reacts immediately by acting more primitively than the logical part. For example, providing someone who had this phobia with statistics about how air travel is safer than car travel would not help. That is simply because our brain responds to the idea and feeling of flying through its emotional part. Among the common causes of this phobia are past traumas. That is to say, no one is born with this phobia. The person with flying fear experiences extreme anxiety and as the level of anxiety increases, they become more likely to have a panic attack. So what should be done in such cases? Here are the answers...
Pick the right dates for you
Back in the day, air travel had to be arranged with the help of travel agents, and often felt like going on a blind date. But today, it is possible to find information on everything from the make of the plane you will take, to hourly weather forecasts. Therefore, it is now easier to avoid fear of flying by learning the details of your flight and the weather forecast for the day of your travel. In addition to that, choosing your seat from front row and close to the exit, and having adequate legroom and seat pitch are essential for a comfortable flight. The first and most important rule to overcome the fear of flying is to plan your trip wisely. The details of your travel should be arranged in a way to help you overcome the fear, rather than triggering it.
Inform the flight crew about your condition
This is very important. Flight crew members are trained to help passengers with such conditions. Letting them know could help you have a more comfortable flight. This way, the crew can provide you with that extra care and confidence you may need. Plus, the crew, aware of your fear, would pay special attention not to trigger your fear during a situation such as a turbulence.
Choose comfortable clothes and eat/drink lightly
Yes, you read it right. Even such things could trigger your fear of flying. In this regard, you should avoid alcohol, chocolate, greasy foods, coffee, etc. Stimulants could distort your perception while consuming heavy foods could make you feel uncomfortable. Constrictive clothing, on the other hand, could make breathing difficult. Being able to breath easily is of great importance for people suffering from the fear of flying.
If you have the fear of flying and are late for the flight, it is very likely that your fear will be exacerbated. A stress-free trip to the airport could help you maintain your calm. Therefore, instead of risking being late, try to be early and watch the routine activity at the airport and take offs/landing of other planes. Try to imagine having a smooth flight and how well you will handle this. Picture yourself as first the observer and then the passenger. Try to remember your observations while boarding. This is a very effective way to help yourself overcome the fear.
Keep yourself distracted by watching a movie or reading a book
Since the more primitive emotional part of the brain comes into play, the brain is constantly producing. At this point, decreasing the level of activity is very important. Because these are the moments when you tend to think about disaster scenarios. Reading or watching something, on the other hand, helps your brain change its focus.
What else you could do...
Here are some other tips and tricks to defeat the fear of flying:
Prepare yourself for sudden noises during the flight. Always keep in mind that airplanes are basically machines.
If you feel that the sound of the engine makes you feel anxious, put your earplugs on.
Have a conversation with the pilot before the take off, if possible.
Try to fly as much as you can.
Practice flying with VR headsets.
Do not watch aircraft accident videos before boarding.
If you think sleeping during the flight will help you, avoid sleeping the day before.
If you are not able to overcome your fear with your own efforts, seek professional help.
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