You needed to travel, so you booked a flight. You completed all the procedures, and you have double-checked your luggage. Everything seems good except for one thing. It's that you can't stand the thought of getting into a plane.
Your palms start sweating, your heart starts palpitating, your breathing speeds up, and your mind starts racing with all sorts of dangerous thoughts. To some people, flying can be downright terrifying.
Fear of flying, also known as Aerophobia, affects one-quarter of the whole world population. When you board a plane, you will find out it's not only you that's anxious. There are other passengers too that are tightly gripping their seats with their eyes wide open.
The good thing is that many tested techniques can help calm your racing mind.
Technology is advancing, and flying has become more secure with each passing day. So, there's not much to worry about in the first place. It's only a matter of choosing the right approaches and thinking that will make your flying a whole lot easier.
So, without further ado, let's get into the list of 10 Top Tips that can help you overcome your fear of flying.
1. Be Mindful of Your Fears
Your anxiety can become really creative when you're flying. Your mind keeps presenting you with thoughts about all the things that could go wrong. An overactive mind can magnify a problem and present it to be bigger than it is.
So, it is very important to be aware of your thoughts so you can understand and control them when things start getting out of hand. And this is where mindfulness comes in.
The gist of mindfulness is being conscious of your fearful and irrational thoughts, so they don't overcome you. When you are aware of where your mind is headed, you have the power to stop those thoughts before they consume you.
You can also try getting a mindfulness app to help you with guided meditations while you wait at the airport or even when you're on the plane. It helps reduce stress and get a better understanding of things.
2. Trust your Pilots and Technology
Do you know that travelling by plane is by far the safest form of travel? Yes, you read that right. Your chances of experiencing an accident while flying are 1 in 11 Million!
The pilots that are flying the plane are experienced professionals and have proper education about everything they need to know. Aviation schools are adamant, and the pilots have to prove their mettle through different stress training before they get to be in an actual plane with people.
Aeroplanes are built to withstand turbulence even in the most extreme cases. Aeroplane engines are designed with 99.999% reliability, even in the highly unlikely chances of engine failure, your plane can easily land without any problems.
Trust the flight crew and engineering. They can handle even the most severe cases, so you're in the right hands.
3. Understand Turbulence
Turbulence is often the hardest part about flying. It can shake you up both physically and mentally. A bit of trembling can create concerns in people that are not even that afraid of flying, and it’s completely normal.
Anticipating your anxiety before you get onto the plane will make your experience less stressful.
Turbulence is usually short-lived. Some might naturally occur during taking off, flying or landing. Even if it is prolonged, it does not mean anything is wrong. If you have your seatbelts on, you're almost always perfectly safe.
4. Reach the Airport Early
The last thing that you need to worry about is reaching your airport late or missing your flight. If you're late, you will panic and might have additional problems with security. The added stress will make it more challenging to manage your fear of flying, and things might go in a downward spiral.
Reaching the airport earlier will make sure you don't have to panic about anything. While you're at the airport, take a walk or just chill out for a while. It will decrease anxiety and keep you relaxed.
5. Prepare Appropriately at Home
You don't need to reach the airport and find out that you forgot to pack something or that you need to buy something that you can't find at the airport.
Also, it is advisable not to drink any alcohol or caffeinated beverages before you board a plane. Consuming them can make you even more stressed. Energy drinks can also increase adrenaline levels, so they're also not a good idea. Also, take light meals before leaving for the airport.
Have everything gathered and packed at your home and verify twice, so you don't have to worry about anything additional when you reach the airport.
6. Find the Right Seat
Choosing the right seat can create a lot of difference. See which place suits you more. If you are afraid of looking out the window, then sitting somewhere in the middle will be a better option.
Some may find it soothing to sit near the window, and it entirely depends on person to person. Also, try to get a seat near the cabin because turbulence usually occurs at the back end of the plane.
Flight attendants understand people's fears, so don't hesitate about reaching out to them if you need your seat changed. Some passengers might be already looking to change their seats, so they will gladly swap places with you.
7. Distract Yourself
An unoccupied mind will keep fueling your anxiety. It's always better to distract yourself when you are on the plane. If your mind is diverted, it won't have time to overthink any irrational fears.
So, bring a book with you or download a movie on your phone so you can watch it mid-flight. Start a conversation with the passenger sitting nearby or try anything that keeps your mind off of the fearful thoughts.
8. Use Earplugs and Eye Masks
Try to de-stress while you're on the plane. If you can't help looking around and fearing more and more, put an eye mask on your eyes and listen to your favourite music.
Listening to music or blocking your ears with earplugs will help you avoid any loud noises on the plane and help you relax. Earplugs and eye masks will also make sure you don't wake up during your sleep.
9. Participate in a “Fear of Flying” Workshop
Airlines are well aware of Aerophobia, so there are many airlines that organize workshops for people that are afraid of flying. These workshops have professional instructors that help you with different techniques which you can use to decrease your fear by a great extent.
You can also go to your personal Therapist and discuss your fears. Such discussions will help you immensely in rationalizing your worries and give you a better understanding. These sessions prove to be really helpful as people with even the most severe form of Aerophobia report losing their fears completely after taking these courses.
10. Get Excited About the Place You're Travelling To
Think about all the delicious foods you'll eat or the places you will visit or the people you will meet once you get to your destination. Getting excited is another excellent way to entertain and distract your mind.
When you think of all the good things that are about to come, you will not only feel happier but less stressed too. Also, look at the people sitting beside you. They are confident and enjoying their time, so why shouldn't you?
As the saying goes, “You have nothing to fear, but fear itself”
Aerophobia can be an anxious condition for many people, but there are thousands that have been in your shoes. And almost all of them get over it with time. Anticipating your anxiety beforehand will help you tackle your triggers better.
After some time and understanding, you will find that there’s no concrete evidence for you to worry about. With the advancement in engineering, planes are becoming safer day by day, decreasing any chances for potential failures by a great margin. Following these techniques above will help you overcome your fears so you have less stressful and more comfortable flying experience.
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