Are you afraid to fly? You are not the only one! Although you may not believe it, this fear is one of the most common phobias. At least 1 in 6 Americans are afraid of flying! Generally speaking, this fear relates to crashing, getting trapped in an airplane, heights or a combination of these factors. In some cases, studies have shown that only 60% of passengers feel completely relaxed during a flight and many just avoid getting on a plane in the first place.

Note: Avoiding an airplane, or drinking pills and alcohol to overcome the bad experience, is not the best of solutions! To find the answer to this dilemma, you need to ask yourself the question: What I am I really afraid of? If you understand the origin of your fears, you will likely overcome your aerophobia!

 

The repercussion of not getting on an airplane is more of a social issue. It might stop you from attending an event or traveling to new and exotic places. However, it can also affect your working life. Perhaps you will be unable to accept a job, which implies flying from time to time. The truth is having a fear of flying, or getting into panic mode before getting on an airplane, limits what you can do and it is important to get over it!

Although fears are common, they can manifest in different ways for each individual with different degrees of intensity. This can include nervousness, anxiety and authentic panic attacks!

 

What are some of the most common symptoms?

In general, you will feel a sensation of stress and extreme anxiety. This can be:

 

-A feeling of breathlessness

-Stomach pain, nauseas and vomiting

-Chest pain

-Hyperventilation

-Excessive sweating

 

These symptoms can appear just by looking at an airplane, or talking about the trip in question!

 As noted previously, many times it is a combination of phobias and fears. For example, it could be a fear of heights (Acrophobia), fear of enclosed spaces (Claustrophobia), or fears related to accidents that can lead to death. Others can include a sensation of no control, being in an open space without escape, terrorism, a prior unpleasant flight experience, obsession with death or even news related to plane crashes!

Movies and TV does not help the issue! A susceptible person that watches a series or movies about flight tragedies can become more traumatized!

Anxiety and fear can also result from ignorance. When a person doesn’t really understand how an airplane works, they fear for their lives once inside. This fear of the unknown and the inability to act against it can be overwhelming. Sometimes the best way to overcome your fears is to face it directly! For example, people who fear water may take swimming lessons. Once you know and see how things work, you stop being so afraid.

Overcome the fear!

Someone who is afraid of flying suffers a long time before the actual flight. The expectation and anxiety does not allow them to rest easily. They can’t even sleep at night, which may lead to flight cancellation. Alleviating the negative influence of the anticipated flight, will help you overcome the fear. Try not to cancel the flight! This practice will give you more confidence and a feeling of empowerment.

 The services of a therapist will also help, and it will be easy to overcome this negative emotion. Some people take flying lessons or even parachute jump to face the problem! There are lots of reading material and many self-help books to control anxiety and panic attacks.

Other ways to improve the situation are:

  1. Understand the basics of how an airplane works!
  2. Read up on statistics and the irrational behavior related to this type of fear. More than likely you will have a car accident before an airplane accident!
  3. Control your anxiety with meditation or relaxation techniques. Accept your anxiety and the sensation it brings physically. This will allow you (in time) to overcome it!
  4. Think of happy moments that brings you pleasure! This is a great way to relax and associate your flying experience with positive thoughts. Listen to relaxing music or enjoy a great book on the flight.
  5. Drink lots of water and avoid coffee and alcohol. These produce anxiety and this is not what you need! If you really want medication, talk to your doctor. In general, they take 35 to 40 minutes kick in, so you have to take it before the flight.
  6. Focus on the reason for your trip and why it is important to overcome this issue. Perhaps you can watch photos, or think about what you will see and do! This will give you positive energy to overcome your fear of flying, and it will put things in the right perspective.

 

I hope these tips can help you. I know it may be difficult to try new things. Especially those we have no control over or may not understand how it works, but we should try! Do not accept your fears as normal. On the contrary, anxiety should not control you! You should control it!

Remember: There are countless possibilities waiting for you after a flight. The destination is always unknown and it is true you cannot control it. But cheer up! The journey itself is an adventure, so enjoy each and every step!

Best wishes to you!