fear of flying

Understanding the fear of flying

Air travel has never been safer. But that doesn’t stop some people from having a fear of flying. If you look at it from the outset, it makes sense. Why would you trust your safety to a giant flying metal tube?

Fear of flying and its causes

The fear of flying is called aviophobia. According to Todd Farchione, Director of Boston University’s Intensive Treatment Program in a Time article, what was most frightening for those with aviophobia is the lack of control they have in the situation. They’re stuck in the plane and have no say on what happens next.

Other contributing factors to aviophobia include fear of heights, exposure to media depicting plane crashes, and past experiences. When all of these factors come together in your head, you will feel helpless, and can’t help but picture yourself in a situation unlike the one from that plane crash episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

Luckily, there are ways for you to drop the persistent bad feeling in your stomach and start to enjoy aeroplanes.

How to get over the fear of flying

There are several ways to overcome the fear and anxiety of flying. You need to find a method that works for you. For some, merely keeping their minds off the situation is enough, while others need to take more drastic measure. Here are a few ways that can help you get over your fear:

  • Educate yourself. It’s strange to think that a giant piece of metal can stay in the air for so long. Not knowing how something works fuels fear, so it is best to find out everything you can about how an aeroplane works and fun aeroplane facts. This can help dispel your fear and excite you for your next flight.
  • Go through a fear management course. Another thing you can do is go through a fear of flight management course. The course can introduce you to the many things you will experience during flight like turbulence, and show you that there is nothing to be afraid of. This is a great way to get an actual feel of flying before your actual flight.
  • Find something else to focus on. During the flight, keeping your mind busy and focused on something else can help ease your anxieties and fear. You can either strike up a conversation with other passengers or tinker with your mobile device when the pilot gives the signal that it’s okay to do so.
  • Change your thought process. Focus on changing the way your brain focuses on things. Instead of thinking about all the bad things that MIGHT happen, try to focus on what’s happening at the moment. Focus on your drink, the crossword puzzle you are working on, or the destination. This shifts your brain’s focus from “terrified” to “okay” to “excited”.
  • Talk to a therapist. For those whose fear of flying has dramatically impaired their way of life and where natural methods have failed, it is time to consider therapy. Therapists can work with you and find ways to overcome the challenges you are facing. It will be a long process, but by the end of it, you will have a better outlook on flying and travelling in general.

Nothing comes easy, especially overcoming a fear. Forgive yourself if you slip up, but continue to try your best to rid yourself of this fear so you can experience the joys of air travel and the in-flight entertainment.

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