Afraid to fly? Follow these 8 steps from Dr. Martin N. Seif’s Freedom to Fly Now Workshop to help conquer your fears.
1. Latch on to triggers that set you off.
Figure out what frightens you and examine how your anxiety reaction is triggered. Your goal is to identify your particular triggers, so you can manage your fear when anxiety levels are low. Learning what sets you off makes it easier to turn it off.
2. Step onto the airplane with knowledge.
Anxiety thrives on ignorance, and feeds off “what if?” catastrophic thoughts. But once you become knowledgeable, your “what if?” thoughts are limited by the facts. Become familiar with the facts. They will not eliminate your anxiety, but they will help you manage it.
3. Anticipate your anxiety.
Anticipatory anxiety is what we experience in anticipation of a fear. It is often the most intense anxiety you will experience during your flight, but it is not an accurate predictor of how you will feel on the flight. It is frequently far greater than what you actually experience.
4. Separate fear from danger.
It is often difficult to separate anxiety from danger because your body reacts in exactly the same way to both. Be sure to label your fear as anxiety. Tell yourself that anxiety makes your frightening thoughts feel more likely to occur, and remind yourself that feeling anxious doesn’t mean you are in danger. You are safe even when feeling intense anxiety.
5. Recognize that common sense makes no sense.
Part A: Anxiety tricks common sense.
Anxiety will trick you into thinking you are in danger when you are perfectly safe. Your gut feelings in these instances will always tell you to avoid, but if you follow these feelings, you will always be reinforcing your anxiety.
Part B: You can outsmart anxiety.
As a rule, do the opposite of what anxious feelings are telling you to do. Fight what the anxiety is telling you to do, but embrace the discomfort that anxiety brings.
6. Smooth over things that go bump in the flight.
To manage anxiety when turbulence hits, learn about airplanes and how they are designed to handle turbulence. Focus on managing your anxiety, rather than when the turbulence will end or how severe it might get. Remind yourself that you are safe.
7. Educate fellow fliers how to help you.
Other fliers need to know what frightens you, along with what helps you most to cope with anxiety during a flight. Your task is to be clear about your triggers and ask specifically for what you find most useful.
8. Value each flight.
Exposure is the active ingredient in overcoming your phobia. Every flight provides you with the opportunity to make the next one easier. Your goal is to retrain your brain to become less sensitized to the triggers that set you off.
Imagining the air as Jello can help you overcome this common fear.
It’s estimated that 25 million Americans have a fear of flying . And a lthough the fear is a perfectly natural one— how does it stay up there, especially when turbulence hits? — it can have a significantly negative impact on a person’s life . But there’s a simple mental imagery trick, invented by an airline pilot and making the rounds on TikTok, that may help you the next time you find yourself on a bumpy airplane ride.
How to conquer your fear of flying
A ustralian TikTok star Anna Paul recently demonstrated a way of thinking about airplanes that offers an intuitive explanation for how they are able to stay up in the air, even during turbulence. In the video , Paul sticks a piece of wadded up napkin into a cup of Jello. Pointing at the napkin (the “airplane”) , which remains stationary, she explains that the pressure the Jello (the “air”) exerts from all sides is what keeps the napkin in place— the same way an airplane is able to stay in the sky.
Paul shakes the cup, showing how the napkin remains in place, which is also true of an air plane in turbulence. “It’s not going to automatically fall just because it’s shaking,” Paul said. “You do not have to be scared.”
Is the air really like Jello?
Imagining the air surrounding an airplane as Jello can be a bit of a stretch, but it’s closer to reality than you might think. As airline pilot and licensed therapist Tom Bunn , who invented this exercise, explains in his book Soar: The Breakthrough Treatment for Fear of Flying , the faster we go, the more pressure the air exerts on us, until at a high enough speed, the pressure become equivalent to that of Jello.
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As Bunn writes in his book, “As speed through air increases, passage becomes more difficult. When you’re walking through air at five miles-per-hour, it’s effortless; biking through air at 25 MPH requires all the effort a non-racer can muster. In a car, at 50 MPH, if you put your hand out the window and push forward, it takes the same effort as putting your hand underwater in a swimming pool and pushing forward. This means, to a vehicle penetrating it, 50 MPH air is as thick as water in a pool. At 80 MPH, air becomes like oil or molasses. At takeoff speed, between 140 and 200 MPH, as far as the plane is concerned, air has been transformed into something as solid as gelatin.”
The next time that you find yourself sitting on an airplane, waiting for takeoff, imagine the air becoming thicker and thicker the faster that it goes down the runway, until finally, when it takes off, it has become as thick as Jello.
6 tips to help you overcome your fear of flying
But even if you’re itching to get to your island vacation or attend your cousin’s wedding that’s been rescheduled for the third time, the thought of getting on an airplane might fill you with dread.
If you’ll do almost anything to avoid reaching cruising altitude, these tips can help.
Talk yourself down from dread
Flying is known as the safest form of long-distance travel – and dying from a plane accident is extremely rare. So why do our brains hang on to the very extraordinary instances when something goes wrong?
It comes down to confirmation bias, which makes us look for evidence that supports our existing beliefs, says Dr. Luana Marques, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
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If you believe planes are dangerous, “every time you see a news article that says a plane crashed, you go, ‘Yep, see? Dangerous,'” says Marques. But if you look up how many planes take off and land safely every day, you’ll see that plane crashes are very rare and can talk yourself down from the belief that flying is dangerous, she says.
Of course, “a phobia or a fear of flying is not rational,” says Marques. It takes time and practice to break through the fear. Don’t be too hard on yourself if trying to reason with your fear doesn’t get you very far at first.
Face your fear, repeatedly but in small doses
Exposure therapy, “is the idea that being exposed to something you’re afraid of over and over again calms down your limbic system so it doesn’t fire up as fast,” says Marques. That could mean less anxiety in the long run.
“You’re basically moving up a ladder of fear,” says Marques. Before you move to the next level of exposure, make sure your fight-or-flight response is less active.
It could look something like this:
- Watch YouTube videos of planes taking off.
- Watch videos of planes actually flying.
- Listen to audio of a flight in turbulence.
- Go to the airport and watch planes take off.
- Get on a plane.
If you want to work on your fear without having to buy a plane ticket, you can try virtual reality exposure therapy.
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During the flight, distract yourself
“When we’re really, really anxious, we can’t think straight,” says Marques.
The key is to try to connect to your rational, thinking brain. “When we really focus on thinking, like doing a math problem, our emotional brain calms down.”
Try a crossword puzzle or sudoku, reading a really juicy romance novel (we’ve got recs!) or getting through a pile of paperwork. Board your flight with plenty of distractions.
If you hit turbulence, don’t force yourself to calm down
During a rough flight, your instinct might be to take slow, deep breaths to calm down. But don’t try to stop the experience, says Marques. “It’s nearly impossible to stop your fight-or-flight response,” once it’s been triggered, she explains.
Instead, try labeling your feelings. “Oh, my gosh. I’m really scared,” for example. Remind yourself that your body is having a normal response to a perceived threat, says Marques.
Of course, that’s different from feeding your anxiety by telling yourself, “Oh, my God, the plane is going to crash. Oh, my God, something bad is going to happen,” she explains.
After you’ve named your fear, go back to the facts you gathered about aviation safety, and remind yourself that you’re still safe.
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Consult with a doctor about medication, if you feel you might need it
Fast-acting medications like Xanax or Valium can be useful tools, says Marques: “I’ve had patients that had to take it to even do the exposure therapy.” But relying on medication may not solve your problem long term.
“Those medications pretty quickly take down anxiety. And so it feels then that the only way to travel and to fly is with those medications,” says Marques. “Long term, they tend to get people more stuck.”
If you do need medication to get on a plane, talk with your primary care doctor or a psychiatrist. “Try to think of a medication that’s not just short-term, but something that could help you bring your baseline anxiety down,” she says.
Whatever you do, don’t self-medicate or mix prescription pills with alcohol.
Work through your discomfort by focusing on why you’re flying in the first place
The key to all of this, Marques says, is allowing yourself to be “comfortably uncomfortable.”
If you’re totally comfortable, you’re at home never facing your fear. If you’re totally uncomfortable, it feels like you’re always on the verge of a panic attack.
Finding a middle ground means, “You’re out of your comfort zone, but you’re going toward something that matters,” Marques explains. “Instead of just having anxiety, you are capitalizing on that anxiety to propel you toward something that matters.”
Think about what matters to you: Maybe you love to explore new places, or you really want to accept a promotion at work that requires you to travel, or you live far from your sibling and you want to see them more often. Figure out what’s worth working through your fear.
Having the opportunity to fly and visit new places is an amazing thing! After all, travel is one of the most important things a person can do. It is more than simply visiting sites and taking photos, it brings about new ideas and viewpoints. Travel can even be viewed as an investment in yourself. It helps you get out of your comfort zone, experience new cultures, relax, and create some great memories. Unfortunately, the journey of getting to your destination may not be as peaceful.
The fear of flying affects millions of Americans each year. In fact, it has been estimated that flight anxiety is the second biggest fear in the United States. It can prevent you from taking the trip you have always dreamed of or cause you to miss out on quality time with your family. Being anxious about flying is also known as aerophobia. Often, your fear of flying may indicate that you have a deeper fear of other things. For instance, you may fear being in an enclosed space or having something disastrous happen while you are in the air.
Overcoming your fear of flying is possible, but it will take a lot of courage and practice.
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What is flight anxiety?
When you have a fear of flying, you are experiencing aerophobia. While many people have understandable fears of flying which produces anxiety, some people may battle with a chronic phobia. A phobia is a severe fear that is out of proportion when compared to the real danger one may face in the given situation. This can especially be applied to the common fear of flying.
Many people agree that flying is very safe; however, there is a frightening element you may not be able to identify. Even when you know the statistics that showcase just how safe flying is, you may have a difficult time reconciling your fear and the safety data. With that being said, we understand that phobias are illogical, therefore you cannot reason yourself out of it without some assistance or the usage of healthy coping mechanisms.
An overwhelming majority of flight phobics have a fear of feeling anxious during the flight. You may have experienced panic or anxiety before and, when you step onto the plane, your mind is flooded with thoughts that your anxiety symptoms may return or even that you will launch into a full-fledged panic attack.
It is uncommon that many fears of flying begin with a traumatic flying experience. With that being said, you may have even been able to fly comfortably at one point in your life, but find that it is no longer the case. Many people develop their fear of flying as a young adult after experiencing major life events, like graduation, marriage, divorce, birth of a child, and/or the loss of a loved one.
Your fear of flying can be broken up into three primary categories:
Those who fly when needed, but experience anxiety during the process.
Those who only fly when it is of the utmost importance, but do so with utter dread and panic.
Those who do not fly (or have not flown in the past five years) despite opportunities to do so.
Which category do you belong to?
Conquering the Fear of Flying
If the fear of flying keeps you grounded Capt. Tom can help you get your wings back.
It’s an opportunity most people take for granted: the ability to book a plane ticket, board a flight and enjoy a vacation without being plagued by a fear of flying.
Samson Frankel says he once drove three-thousand miles from New York to Florida to avoid flying.
“I remember looking up at a plane, watching it fly above and thinking to myself, ‘There’s no way I can go up there into the clouds,’” Frankel said. “It’s just very all encompassing. You just do not want to take a step on an airplane under any circumstance.”
Frankel isn’t alone in experiencing these feelings.
Carey Reilly says she sent her kids on a flight to California with her sister while she stayed home. She missed out on the memories at Disneyland and many other family vacations.
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“I knew it was safe, but I just couldn’t get myself to embrace that knowledge so I let it paralyze myself for 20 years,” Reilly said.
Reilly says on another occasion, she was supposed to fly with her sisters to California to be on the TV show Family Feud. By the time she arrived at the airport, fear had overtaken her.
“I had a full blown panic attack,” Reilly said. “I absolutely freaked out. My sister came over and I’m screaming at her, ‘don’t touch me.’ I wouldn’t get on the plane so I ruined the trip for everybody.”
It’s a fear that isolates and limits not only the personal, but the business lives of those it affects.
As an event planner, Beth Shubert says she sometimes turned down work projects out-of-state.
“You dread the trip going,” Shubert said. “You get to your destination, and then you dread the return flight. You end up ruining your trip. Instead of opportunities or vacations being wonderful times, they end up being something you dread. It’s terrible.”
Frankel, Shubert and Reilly all now fly – thanks to “Captain Tom”, as they call him.
Captain Tom Bunn is a retired pilot and licensed therapist. In 1982, he established SOAR – a program aimed at helping everyone fly successfully. Since then, he has assisted thousands of people as they conquer their fear.
“He has literally changed my life,” Shubert said.
Frankel says his first flight in more than a decade was after taking Bunn’s course. He flew all the way to Israel for business meetings.
“It was amazing,” Frankel said. “It was a 12-hour flight and I was 6,000 miles away from New York, and that’s probably the furthest I’d gone in my entire life.”
So how did Frankel, Shubert and Reilly learn to fly again?
Bunn tells us there’s a series of steps he works on with his clients. He encourages them to first try to meet the pilot when boarding.
“Giving up control is a major issue, and if you can meet the person that has the control, it’s kind of like then you have a kinship with the person who does have the control,” Bunn said. “You find out they’re real – not just a voice.”
Next, Bunn encourages clients to practice an exercise to lower stress hormones once they build up.
“It’s an exercise I call ‘5, 4, 3, 2, 1,’” Bunn said. “You will first find something to focus on more or less straight ahead and use that as your focus point.”
The captain says count five things you can see, hear and touch. Then, count to four things you can see, hear and touch – and so on down until you get to one.
“It takes about two minutes and by the time you do that – the stress hormones are pretty much gone, maybe totally gone,” Bunn said. “And the particular thing about stress hormones is that when they’re kicking around, it forces you to focus on something that’s problematic. So if you keep focusing on it, you increase stress hormones. But if you can get rid of the stress hormones by using the ‘5, 4, 3, 2, 1’ – then your mind is free to focus where you want to.”
Bunn says there are two main parts to the problem: worries about physical and emotional safety.
“Both of the things need to be worked with, but if it’s simply a question of ‘is the plane safe?’ Then, you can get a lot of information on the Internet about that,” Bunn said.
He says as individuals with physical concerns learn more about how flying works, the more reassured and calm they will be.
For those dealing with emotional concerns, Bunn says he works with clients on determining what moment sets them off and figures out how to shut down the fear system.Bunn encourages his clients to think about ‘what is’ instead of ‘what if.’
“There’s really no limit to things that you could come up with if you’re imaginative that could go wrong and none of them are,” Bunn said. “So if you can shift away from ‘What if the wings fall off, what if there’s a terrorist on the plane, what if this, what if that?’. and away from the imagination, that helps a lot.”
While some people can learn how to successfully fly on their own without professional assistance, Bunn says others require more help.
“If a person has a mild problem and doesn’t have panic, that helps a lot,” Bunn said. “But if the person has trouble with panic on the ground, it’s definitely going to be a problem on the plane and there’s no way I know to control it unless we set up a way to automatically control it.”
(Photo: airplane image by Clarence Alford from Fotolia.com )
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Flying is one of the safest ways to travel, but that doesn’t protect millions of people from suffering from aviaphobia, a fear of flying. With plane travel often a necessity for work and to see family, it is logical for such people to deal with their fear in a forthright and continual way. Recovery form aviaphobia rarely happens overnight, but with a methodical approach and a practice of various coping strategies, you can overcome a fear of flying.
Recognize the warning signs of aviaphobia. Most phobic people exhibit an irrational need to get as far away from the source of their phobia as possibe, which can cause serious difficulties on an airplane. It’s often accompanied by feelings of anxiety, panic attacks, sweating palms, rapid breathing and an increased heat rate.
Spot the coping strategies your mind uses when faced with your fear of flying. Experts have identified four general types of coping strategies aviaphobics use, most of which make their fears worse. Rumination means dwelling unduly on the situation itself. Resignation means embracing a sense of helplessness about the circumstances you are in. Self-blame involves criticising yourself for being in the situation (“I never should have gotten on the plane…”). Finally, catastrophic thinking dwells on the worst possibilities, such as the plane going down or being taken over by terrorists.
Once you have identified the coping strategy your mind is using, take steps to reduce the accompanying stress. Confront your thought patterns by using logic or reasoning to counteract them. For rumination, extend your thoughts beyond the situation; say, by anticipating seeing your family when you land or by thinking about a project at work that you’re involved in. For resignation, consider the calming tactics you can use (see Step 4 below) and tell yourself that you have control over your response to your fear. For self-blame, acknowledge that you are aware of your phobia and that you’re making progress toward treating it. For catastrophic thinking, confront your fear and counter it with hard facts, such as the comparative infrequency of plane crashes and the safety protocols in place.
Engage in controlled breathing exercises to help you curtail your panic. Yoga and deep breathing methods are designed to enhance your calm, and while numerous coping mechanisms exist, the basics are very simple. Close your eyes and try to shut out any external stimuli. Become aware of your body’s movements, your heartbeat and your breathing. Take in a deep breath lasting five seconds. Hold it for five, then breathe out for five. Hold the out breath for five seconds and then breath in again. Repeat this process for 10 or 15 minutes until you feel your panic begin to subside.
Speak to a therapist about the source of your phobia. While therapy isn’t a magic bullet in the short term, it can help you conquer your fears for good over the long term. Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder, which means they often have roots in your personality and upbringing. A professional therapist can help uncover those roots and teach you methods of coping with your fear.
Ask your therapist about medication. While it won’t cure your fear of flying, it may help you remain calm during a flight while you continue to undergo treatment. Sedatives are commonly prescribed for aviaphobics, as are beta-blockers, which reduce the affects of adrenaline in your body. Use them in conjunction with the coping methods described in steps 3 and 4.
Written by: John Dicey & Paul Baker | Last updated/Reviewed: 07 Mar 2022
Enjoy flying overall client rating: Rating 4.8 – 65 reviews
People with a fear of flying are lost in a maze. They want to get out of it but they don’t know which route will take them to freedom.
They need a method that provides a map of the maze along with simple guidance and instructions to help someone with a fear of flying deal with that fear and, as hard as this might be to believe, enjoy (or at least not mind) flying.
However, if you try to follow the instructions without first understanding the map, or you fail to follow all the instructions, you may never find the exit from the ‘fear of flying maze’.
Firstly in brief some tips to handle fear of flying:
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Best tips to overcome a fear of flying
1. Understand and accept that you have a serious problem;
You might consider yourself to have a serious, debilitating fear of flying which makes it impossible to consider flying, or someone who’s just an extremely nervous flyer. Either way – there isn’t any need to be embarrassed by that. Accepting that you have an issue, deciding not to be embarrassed about it, and deciding that you’d like to do something about it, is key. You accepted all that the moment you started looking for help. The great news is, that regardless of how you’ve fared in the past when you tried to cure your fear of flying, there is an easy and painless way of doing so. Accept that you have an issue, decide that you’re going to sort it out, and choose the best method to do so.
2. Forget about people who don’t understand your problem;
One of the worst things about having a fear of flying is having people who have no idea what it’s like telling you to “just go for it”, “don’t be silly – it’s safer than driving”, “pull yourself together – there’s nothing to it”. They mean well but by being so casual about your problem they’re completely misunderstanding how the mere thought of flying makes you feel. Don’t let them make you feel bad or foolish and put their advice and comments to one side. In spite of them – you’re going to find it easy to enjoy flying.
3. Confide in your nearest and dearest if you can;
It’s extraordinary how low someone with a fear of flying can feel. If you have someone close to you, who won’t judge you for your fear, but will instead understand that you have a problem – even if they don’t understand it – will be useful. Whether you consider yourself to have a serious fear of flying or you’re just a very nervous flyer – it amounts to the same; you have a problem and you need help to sort it out. Having a loved one in your corner will make it sweeter than ever when you achieve your goal. The last thing you need is someone saying “Well I don’t know what you were ever worried about!”. You’re going to achieve an amazing thing – you’ll deserve a pat on the back.
4. Straight talking prepares the ground;
Be honest and open with your loved ones, tell it how it is. Don’t be ashamed. Hold your head up high. There is no doubt that in other areas of your life you have overcome major problems, achieved amazing things, so don’t beat yourself up about this issue. You’ve reached out for help to address the problem and that took great courage and strength. Feel good about that.
5. Get help now;
Although there seems like there’s lots of help for fear of flying it’s actually very difficult to find someone to help in the first instance. Lots of airlines run great programmes for people with fear of flying. These can be great – but sometimes don’t quite deal with the mental processes that cause your fear. Look for a method that is easy to access, inexpensive, and quick. Read on, you’ll be relieved to know that such support does exist, provided by the world’s leading authority on psychological issues and addiction.
6. Don’t be disheartened about feeling the fear;
If it happens it isn’t your fault – it takes huge courage to reach out to someone for help. Don’t expect to be cured straight away. It’s really natural to feel how you feel and until you’ve completed the programme the fear is still there. Don’t worry about that. Allen Carr’s Easyway to Enjoy Flying book and on-demand seminar can help. They are standalone programmes that don’t rely on strangers at the end of the phone, and are entirely anonymous and private. It’s a completely shame-free, empowering, and positive programme that sets people free from their fear rather than have them attempt to fight a battle against their fear.
7. Allow yourself to have moments of doubt;
It’s ok for you to have panicky and anxious moments – even after the programme. It’s how you react to those which is so important. In the past you allowed those moments to grow and fester, or just tried to ignore them (which just makes it even worse), this time you’re going to welcome those feelings, identify them for what they are, and think about them. As a result you’ll smile rather than carry on panicking.
8. Look forward to a whole new way of living;
If you use Allen Carr’s Easyway to Enjoy Flying method then you’re all set for a life of freedom. But remember, if you have a bad day at the office, or experience a financial problem, or hit a bump in the road of a close relationship; your world is infinitely better, whatever lows you might experience, than it would have been as someone with a fear of flying. Every cloud has a silver lining when you’ve escaped from issues like that, it’s not just a case of the lows not being nearly as low, but the highs are infinitely higher
Phobia is usually defined as extreme fear, which may sometimes be caused due to the wrong reason. It is a very stressful and anxiety-inducing condition that can be life-threatening many times. Phobias are of many kinds, and one of the most common ones in today’s world is the fear of flying, known as aviophobia.
Presently, millions of people around the world suffer from a significant fear of flying. Two other kinds of anxiety can sometimes characterize this fear. One, the fear of heights known as acrophobia and second, the fear of closed space known as claustrophobia. When a person develops a phobia, their body usually reacts when confronted with situations that are related to their dismay. A claustrophobic person feels suffocating when confined into small spaces, and an acrophobic person might feel dizzy when subjected to great heights.
The fear of flying can also have similar effects on the people, and flying is a devastating experience to many. This fear is caused due to the numerous casualties connected to past flying accidents, hi-jacks, etc. The trauma that aviophobia relays on some people is very severe.
But flying is one of the safest modes of transportation. In reality, the chance of being involved in a fatal aircraft accident is just one in seven million! This indicates that if you travel every day of your life, then it would probably take 19,000 years before you meet with an airplane accident. Therefore, the fear of flying is entirely irrelevant. In fact, your chances of dying in a car or train accident are much more compared to an airplane accident.
Here are 14 ways in which you can relax your mind and prevent yourself from that flying frenzy caused at the airport:-
1) IDENTIFY YOUR TRIGGERS
Firstly, you need to discover the rationale behind your fear. Once you find out the elements that trigger your anxiety, you can easily charter a way out of it.
2) RESEARCH THE SAFETY STATS
The majority of the time, fear is caused due to false impressions and the lack of knowledge and understanding. Do your research and learn about the various operations and technicalities involved. You will feel more complacent once you understand the process. Educate yourself with facts and prevent yourself from forming any misconceptions.
3) LEARN THE TECHNICAL SIDE
Learn about the flying process and educate yourself on the technicalities related to flying and various other operations connected to it. Knowing what turbulence is and how it is dealt with will make me feel at ease while flying.
4) UNDERSTAND ANTICIPATORY ANXIETY
Anticipatory anxiety is like making up scenarios in your mind, which is a product of overthinking. It is caused when we have to face something that triggers our phobia. This anticipation is usually more unnerving than the experience. Once you are inside the plane, you will realize that your expectation does not hold much credibility.
5) SEPARATE YOUR FEAR FROM DANGER
You need to understand that your anxiousness and anticipation does not mean that you are in a dangerous situation. People also have a fear of public speaking, but is it dangerous? NO! Therefore, try controlling your overthinking and anticipation.
6) MEDITATION EXERCISES
Meditation is an excellent way of controlling one’s mind. Meditating regularly can help a person overcome his/ her various fears and anxiety.
7) BREATHING EXERCISES
Breathing rhythmically can also relax the mind. If you are feeling anxious while flying, then take deep breaths and try to distract your mind.
8) USE VISUALIZATION TECHNIQUES
This technique focuses on the distraction of the mind. Form a scenario in your account in which you are in a safe place. Visualize yourself in a happy environment.
9) HELP YOUR FELLOW FLIERS TO HELP YOU
This means, try to communicate with them efficiently and tell them about your problems and reasons that triggers you. Your fellow passenger can only help you when they know the exact purpose of your discomfort.
10) DISTRACT YOURSELF
Watch a movie, read a book, listen to some music, or doze off! Just take your mind off from the flying.
11) TACKLE IT HEAD ON
One of the most popular and proved methods of overcoming fear is by facing it. Expose yourself to your potential fear, and after some time, it will just completely diminish.
12) BUT TAKE IT ONE STEP AT A TIME
Challenging yourself does not require you to jump straight into the extremity of the situation. Take it slowly and begin with small steps. Suppose the environment of the airport troubles you, then stay at the airport for some time and make yourself familiar with the surroundings.
13) ACCEPT A LACK OF CONTROL
Not everything is in your hands. Accept that you do not have any control over the future possibilities and that a risk factor is prevalent at all times.
14) MAKE SURE YOU ARE IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL
It is not a one day process. Overcoming any fear demands some time, dedication, and involvement. Be mentally prepared, and you will sail through any difficulty.
Our World is truly a very beautiful place. Travelling is what enables us to see the aesthetic charm of nature and the world around.
But, for some, the thought of traveling by air seems absolutely daunting and scary. This anxiety limits the world around them and their horizons.
Are you afraid of flying? Don’t worry!
The good news is that fears can overcome. Moreover, they can also be converted into excitement.
How Do People Respond To Their Fear?
The way you respond to fear of flying is a key step in overcoming flight anxiety. Some people respond to their fear by suppressing the thought of flying in some way or the other.
While others with a flying phobia still want to get over it. As according to them, they miss a lot in life so, they keep trying the ways to become unafraid of flight.
Many fearful fliers continue to fly hoping that opposing their fear will help to overcome it.
How Fear Of Flying Is Maintained?
Fear of flying is maintained by three main factors:
Nervous fliers experience a lot of anticipation and dread in the weeks and even months ahead of a scheduled flight.
What happens when flight crosses your mind? You become Frightened – Right?
This is because you get a picture of catastrophes whenever you see a plane.
Oftenly, this anticipation causes sleep loss and even people cancel their plans to fly. So, the key step to overcome the fear of flying is to relieve the negative influence of anticipation.
The more you will feel the fear, the more you will be unable to fly.
They will find relief by canceling a flight and scheduling another driving vacation. This avoidance will further lead to a vicious cycle. As people will feel the avoidance has protected them in some way which will make them more phobic over time.
Reversing the avoidance is a step which will help you in overcoming the fear of flying.
Fight Your Fear Of Flying
May fearful fliers manage to fly and often it’s a baffling problem.
For example, I remember a person who told me about his flight journey of 100,000 miles. For him, the last mile was scarier than the first.
Facing your fear is the key to overcome it as soon as possible.
Still Thinking Of Overcoming Your Fears?
Continue reading this blog to get more information about the same.
Focus On Self Growth
Facing your fears and exploring the world will seriously help you grow as a human being. Imagine! How would you feel when you will face your fear and start exploring the world?
No one can take this achievement from you – it is yours forever.
Self-growth happens when you take part in the things which scare you the most and get you out of your comfort zone.
Think For Alternatives To Confront Your Fears
For some fearful flyers, their fear has become insanely paralyzing.
Whenever you feel like giving up due to fear – ask yourself – “Is there an alternative to confront it?”
Alternatives could range from getting out of your comfort zone to facing the deepest fears. Try to analyze scarier alternatives. As this will help you get a much better perspective.
Turbulence Is Not As Dangerous As You Think
Turbulence is one of the main fear several fearful flyers have. However, moderate and severe turbulence is very rare.
Severe turbulence affects 0.001% of the flights and is also very short lived.
Apart from this, the pilot usually plans a flight route by keeping in the mind the weather maps to avoid severe turbulence.
QUICK TIP: Book your seat at the front of the plane as there are fewer movements towards the front of the aircraft.
The Bottom Line
Overcoming the flying fears doesn’t require years of therapy.
Get yourself enrolled today in fearless flying courses offered by fearless-flyer.com in Europe. It is an excellent way to get rid of the fear of flying. These courses have been running since 2012, delivering high success rates.
In the classes, you will be taught about powerful coping techniques to overcome a fear of flying. Moreover, you will be guided to replace the negative thoughts of flying with positive thoughts.
You can’t pack yourself in a suitcase or drown that dread at the airport bar. You need simple strategies like these to send your phobia permanently packing.
Hiding under the bed helps, but it doesn’t get you anywhere. You can’t pack yourself in a suitcase or drown that dread at the airport bar. The cost of fancy therapies that promise to teach you how to overcome a fear of flying can finance a trip to Europe. Of course, that would mean boarding a plane. This is your phobia, and you need simple strategies like these to send it permanently packing:
Conquer Planes With Brain Power
If amygdalae had switches, you could just turn off these tiny fight-or-flight glands. Calm down your built-in alarms by educating the thinking part of your brain with some comforting facts. All planes fly with multiple engines, so mechanical failure isn’t a realistic way you’ll fall from the sky. Also, for every hour a jet flies through the air, it’s been treated to an average of 11 hours of professional maintenance. And think of turbulence as the equivalent of a bumpy road; parts of the plane’s wings really are supposed to move when it’s airborne.
Or how about this fun fact: Your odds of winning the lottery are one in a million. The odds that your plane will crash is about one in 11 million. The only forms of transportation with lower accident rates are escalators and elevators, and you’re not so afraid of those, right? Keep up the factual self-talk and remind yourself that planes are actually incredibly reliable–it’s easier to believe this when you know more about them.
Beat the Devil With Details
Whoever said getting there is half the fun probably relied on plenty of advanced planning. Elevate that strategy to an altitude that beats your devils into submission with control over the details. Make reservations in advance, fly during the day, and book a direct flight that minimizes your travel time through the friendly skies.
Larger airlines offer bigger planes and smoother rides, so stay away from puddle jumpers. Get to know the lay of your airport’s land before the trip. Familiarity helps clobber fear because you know what to expect. When it’s time to buckle up, tame turbulence with a seat over the wing, or snuggle into the cabin’s front row.
Give Your Body an Anxiety Break
Overcoming fear of flying takes practice, so arm your body with exercises before the flight. Rehearse a deep breathing routine that starts with relaxed shoulders. Put one hand on your stomach, take in a very deep breath through your nose, and feel that abdomen expand. Exhale slowly with a calm count to 10, and repeat the technique several times.
Another body break involves imaginary melting. Start with facial muscles, follow with shoulders, arms and torso, and end with your toes. Let your fingers do the walking up and down tight neck muscles. These routines work anywhere, but they really smooth the edges off high anxiety at 30,000 feet.
Turn Your Mind Into an Escape Hatch
Aviophobia is a type of panic attack that turns your mind’s steel trap against you. Even when you simply call it fear of flying, this goblin sets off triggers that reinforce dreadful feelings. Don’t sit in that aisle seat focused on the emergency door. Load carry-on gadgets with favorite tunes and addicting games. Bury yourself in tabloid magazines, puzzle books or 50 shades of sizzling fiction. Think positive thoughts that bear repeating like “I’m as strong and courageous as every other traveler stashing stuff in the overhead bin!”
Actually, you’re even braver because you’re learning how to get over the fear of flying by spreading new wings and flinging phobias to the ground. The next time someone remarks that the sky’s the limit, just smile. There’s nothing between you and the clouds once you’ve cleared your fears for takeoff.
For the anxious flyers, the idea of getting onto a plane, buckling into the seat, and remaining calm during the entire flight is but a dream. The anxiety sets in, the cabin walls feel like they’re closing in and a sense of fear can become overwhelming.
But there are ways you can overcome your fear of flying so the next time you plan a holiday, you won’t be making excuses why you don’t want to go overseas. Follow these tips and you’ll be flying in no time.
1. Be aware of the facts
You’re actually much more likely to die from falling off a chair than you are from a plane crash. It might be difficult to think clearly in a moment of panic, but statistics like these might just help you to get a grasp of just how unlikely a plane crash will be.
2. Know what triggers your fear
For some it is the turbulence, for others it is the fear of having an anxiety attack in the air, but whatever the case may be, it’s important to understand exactly what it is that causes the anxiety in the first place. When these triggers arise, take some time to recognise that the feelings of fear and worry will pass.
3. Don’t become avoidant
Just because jumping on a plane makes your heart leap into your throat and gives you the sweats, doesn’t mean you should go on avoiding it. That will often increase the fear and stop you from getting out of your comfort zone. When that fear and anxiety creeps up, tell yourself that you are scared, but that you can deal with it.
4. Keep yourself distracted
If the thought of flying is enough to give you the sweats, then plan ahead and make sure you have a whole host of distractions prepared for your flight. You might want to pop your favourite puzzle book into your carry-on luggage, or load up your iPad with a great playlist of songs, or go through the online entertainment system and load a series of movies. Whatever the case may be, take some time to destress with your favourite distractions to keep your mind at ease.
5. Use meditation and visualisation
It’s amazing what simple breathing can do to relax our nervous system, so taking some deep breaths when you’re feeling stressed can help when the anxiety and fear begins to build up. As for visualisation techniques, you could sit in the comfort of your own home before your trip and imagine yourself walking down the aisle, taking your seat and taking your flight. This can help you to feel much more comfortable once the flight comes along.
- Loss of control and worries about having a panic/anxiety attack while in flight
- Fear of being in an enclosed space (claustrophobia)
- Worry about turbulence or a fear of heights
- Fear of being exposed to illnesses from other passengers
- Being anxious about sitting in close quarters with other people
- Not understanding the sounds and sensations of flying in an airplane
- Having to depend on an unknown person’s skills and judgement (the pilot’s)
- Fears about possible terrorism
Symptoms of flying anxiety can include:
- Stomach discomfort, nausea
- Dry mouth, flushed or pale face
- Rapid breathing and heart palpitations
- Muscle tension or tremors
- Negative expectations
- Dizziness, sweating, or weakness
The Department of Transportation has concluded that it is 29 times safer to fly in an airplane than to drive or ride in a car, yet most of us use an automobile every day without a second thought. And, even though statistics tell us that air travel is one of the safest forms of transportation, many people still harbor deep fears and anxieties at the thought of getting on a plane.
Did you know, however, that a fear of flying really isn’t about the risks involved in the act of flying? Instead, this anxiety is really more about the sufferer’s loss of control and the awareness of being vulnerable.
Help for Fear of Flying
Avoiding flying will not help: it will only serve to keep your fears intense and alive. The next time you fly, try some of the following to help with your unease:
- Before you fly, try to recognize the signs that your anxiety level is rising and make an attempt to manage it with deep breathing, yoga, or meditation
- If you are on the plane, try relaxation exercises: take a deep breath, lower your shoulders, and unclench your shoulder muscles before letting your breath out. Do this with various areas of your body (relax your hands and legs, relax your facial muscles, relax your abdomen, etc).
- Focus on a peaceful image in your mind. Make it real—for example, if you are picturing yourself on a beach, feel the sun’s warmth on you, hear the cry of the seagulls, taste the sweetness of the fruit you are eating. Focus on the details!
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, feeling your abdomen rise as you do. Exhale through your mouth to a count of 10, pushing out all of the air with your abdomen. Do this 4-5 times while allowing your muscles to relax.
Seeking Professional Help
If your flying anxiety can’t be overcome with relaxation techniques, it might be time to seek the help of a therapist.Exposure Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy have been successfully used to reduce the triggers and fears associated with flying.
In Exposure Therapy, the intent is to guide the patient into a more accurate train of thought, so their anxiety system ceases to give misinformation about what may happen during a flight. This type of training is done through example: the patient is repeatedly guided into a situation where they will face their fears and anxieties. Over the course of treatment, they become conditioned to the situation they have feared and it no longer provokes their anxiety.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy helps the patient become aware of their unreasonable thoughts and beliefs so they can view the situation more realistically and react in a healthier way. It helps the person identify and challenge negative or inaccurate thinking so that they can replace the negative thoughts with positive, accurate ones that are more realistic.
With either form of treatment, techniques are taught to help the patient manage anxiety. For example, as mentioned above, diaphragmatic breathing can be learned so it can be used to help calm a person while on a flight. People can also learn to desensitize their bodily sensation triggers so they don’t react to turbulence or the feeling of the plane taking off or landing. Virtual reality programs can be used in a safe environment to educate people on the sounds and sensations they will experience during flight. And, as a last resort, anti-anxiety medications can be used in combination with therapy to help someone manage their fears during a flight.
If you or someone you know is having difficulty traveling due to their fear of flying, we can help! For more information or to talk to a mental health professional about your flying anxiety, contact Dr. Rosen or call The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094.
In Part 1 , I discussed what’s behind a fear of flying. We identified that, in order to fly comfortably, we need to be able to develop awareness and process the underlying emotions contribute to reinforcing this fear, soothe emotional and physical symptoms triggered by fear, and resolve the perceived threats that drive the fear. When not addressed, these components tend to feed off of each other, and can make our flight experience cognitively, physically, and emotionally quite uncomfortable. In essence, this is the fear of flying.
More than a decade ago, I designed a comprehensive and personalized method to directly address these areas of fear of flying. This method is rooted in psychology and utilizes a variety of techniques integrated with passenger flying education, with the goal of transforming our overall flying experience. If you look around the internet, almost all of the courses and methods that are meant to address fear of flying are not personalized — they are blanket approaches meant for everyone to use, no matter their background. I have seen people countless times who have tried those blanket methods and come to me saying they haven’t been helpful. Everyone’s fear of flying experience is different and comes from a different underlying place, and therefore needs an approach that can meet you where you are.
One of the components that sets this method apart from a strictly therapy-based approach is the inclusion of passenger flying education. In order to conquer the perceived threats, it is necessary that part of the process is to understand our flying environment. If you think you’re locked in a room with a tiger, wouldn’t it be nice to simply know that you’re only in a room with a cat, rather than having to cope with unnecessary fear? So in order to soothe our perceived threats and help prevent unnecessary fear, we need to help align our perceptions of our environment with reality. While this doesn’t do the job on its own, it is a necessary part of the process to understand our surrounding environment without our imagination running away with misaligned cues. Here’s one example of this:
Environmental Myth: Shortly after takeoff, I feel the plane sinking.
People often ask about the “sinking” sensation that happens shortly after takeoff. The truth is that airplanes require more power to takeoff than they do to climb. So after the plane is in the air for about 30 seconds, the amount of thrust (speed) is reduced. This reduction of thrust is physiologically experienced as a sinking feeling, however the plane is actually still climbing.
Relaxation Myth: Breathing exercises won’t help me when I’m scared on a plane.
Understandably, it can be hard for people to believe how much something as simple as breathing can help to settle our nerves. Breathing regulation is very important to cognitive, physical, and emotional relaxation. As part of our “fight or flight” response, anxiety and fear causes our breathing to become shallow and rapid (physiologically preparing ourselves to engage in battle, or run). If we regulate our breathing, we create the physiological atmosphere for overall relaxation. Meditation is based on the principle that it’s not possible to feel two conflicting states of emotion simultaneously — we can’t feel fear if we feel relaxed. So, while breathing exercises are not a cure on their own, they can be a helpful technique to help soothe ourselves approaching and even during a flight.
Emotional Myth: My anxiety and fear will never go away as long as I’m on a plane.
Believe it or not, this also isn’t true. I have seen many people overcome their fears and fly comfortably. While fear of flying is an incredibly complicated phobia, with an approach that addresses your emotional needs as well as the various internal avenues that reinforce our anxieties, it is possible to soothe our fears of sitting in unknown and vulnerable spaces. Not only have the vast majority of people I’ve worked with benefitted from reduced anxiety or become completely comfortable to travel, some have even found this approach to make flying enjoyable and exciting, looking forward to flying each time now, even after decades of previously not getting on a plane.
Normalization Myth: I’m lucky to be alive when I walk off a plane.
This is not true either, however people who fear flying often feel that their air travel survival was purely luck. This highlights another important element of overcoming fear of flying: “normalization”. One of the reasons that people fear flying is because they do it so rarely (if at all). Generally, when people aren’t flying, they’re completely removed from the atmosphere of flying which deprives your mind and emotions from the reinforcement it needs to integrate flying as normal. This creates the psychological and emotional misconception that flying only happens “once in a while”. However, flying is as normal and routine as getting up and going to work every day. Part of the process in conquering a fear of flying is internalizing the routine nature of flying.
As we can see from the discussion above, it is necessary to use a combination of methods, rather than a singular approach, to resolve the components that cause fear of flying. With this approach to create and internal and external environment for comfort and relaxation, and maybe even enjoyment in our flying experience.
Contact Nathan Feiles to inquire about therapy.
Ready to overcome a fear of flying? Some of the best treatments begin on solid ground.
Mary Avis had been a white-knuckle flyer for years. But on one fateful flight from Virginia to Boston several years ago, her fear finally took complete control. Although the weather was clear and the flight was smooth, Avis panicked.
“I was sure that if I stood up, the floor would collapse and I’d fall through,” says Avis, now 61, who spent the entire flight motionless and petrified.
When the plane landed in Philadelphia to refuel, Avis fled. “My husband was annoyed, to put it mildly,” she says.
“Instead of an hour flight home, we took a 14-hour train ride.” She could not fly again for five years.
Fear of flying may seem irrational, but it is no joke.
It can restrict your life and hobble your career, says Al Forgione, PhD, a Boston psychologist who treats the condition. It’s common, too — a 2006 survey by Gallup and USA Today found that more than one in four people are somewhat afraid, and one in 10 considers him or herself very afraid of taking to the skies.
Despite the term, fear of flying isn’t just a fear of being in the air.
Some people are claustrophobic or afraid of being far from home. Forgione says the most common fear is not crashing, but becoming hysterical and humiliating yourself in flight. And “the underlying fear in all of these anxieties is loss of control,” he says. To create the illusion of control, some people believe that their actions — listening for odd noises, noting the slightest dip, or even staying motionless in their seats — could actually save the plane.
While you can’t control the flight, you can control your own emotional reaction. Many people start with therapy.
Forgione runs classes for people who are afraid to fly. Students learn breathing exercises to calm them during tense situations. They visit the terminal and watch planes take off and land. For graduation, the class takes a short roundtrip flight.
Other therapists use virtual reality to help people feel more at ease with flying.
Wearing a special helmet embedded with monitors and speakers, they experience a computer simulation of the airport, the cabin, and the flight without leaving the safety of their therapist’s office.
Forgione adds that medicine can be a helpful tool. Small doses of a mild sedative may allow people who would otherwise be too afraid to get on a plane.
As for Avis, she finally decided to take Forgione’s class. While she says the class was hard work — “learning to relax isn’t easy,” she notes — it paid off. “I felt victorious when I took that graduation flight,” she says.
Now Avis says she’s so relaxed on flights that she dozes off, something unimaginable before.
“These days, the only thing that really bothers me about flying,” she says, “is being woken up by a chatty pilot yakking about the weather.”
Published March 1, 2007.
SOURCES: Mary Avis. Albert Forgione, PhD, psychologist, director of the Institute for Psychology of Air Travel, Boston; Institute for Psychology of Air Travel web site: “Learn tips on how to prevent the onset of fear of flying.” “Fear of flying can cripple workers,” USAToday, March 20, 2006.
FEAR OF flying affects one in four people, but this expert pilot advice could mean you’re back on holiday sooner than you think.
British Airways launch ‘Flying with Confidence’ course
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Research shows around 25 per cent of people have a fear of flying, while for 10 per cent that fear is a phobia.
But this does nothing to quash the dread incurred by a frightened plane passenger.
Fear of flying can range from mild anxiety to downright debilitating, forcing you to forgo otherwise exciting plans to see the world.
But there are many ways to cure your nerves and turn plane travel into a pleasure.
Some airlines offer one-day courses to help flyers reduce their fears.
Fear of flying – a BA pilot has shared his expert tips on conquering your fears for good
Remember that turbulence is uncomfortable but is not dangerous
British Airways’ Flying with Confidence Course has educated over 50,000 people over the past three decades.
The course – which has a 98 per cent success rate – is run by BA pilots and psychologists, with a flight at the end to test your newfound disposition.
But if you can’t attend the course in person, BA has revealed to Express.co.uk the top 10 tips to tackle your fear of flying.
Captain Steve Allright is one of the pilots on the course, who shared his expert advice.
1. Remember that turbulence is uncomfortable but is not dangerous. It is a perfectly normal part of flying caused by nature.
Fear of flying – Captain Steve Allright helps pasengers conquer their fears in BA’s one-day course
2. Learn to control your breathing. When you feel anxious, hold your breath, then a long deep breathe in, followed by a long deep breath out. Continue long deep breathing.
3. Combine the deep breath in with a muscle contraction. Clenching your buttocks is most effective, as it overrides other nervous signals going up and down your spinal cord.
4. Aircraft like to be in the air. They are designed to be in the air. Pilots and cabin crew like to be in the air also, it is a very normal, safe environment for them to be in.
5. Understand lift. The wings enable aircraft to fly, not the engines. A commercial aircraft flying at 30,000ft can glide for 100 miles even if all the engines fail.
6. Split a long flight up into half hour sections. Go with a plan of things to do, perhaps things you never get round to. Write a letter, watch a film, read a book, eat a meal.
Fear of flying – BA’s Flying With Confidence course takes participants on a flight at the end
7. Pilots undergo a rigorous selection procedure and are the most highly trained and tested professionals on earth. They are subjected to simulator tests every six months.
8. Commercial aircraft are incredibly well maintained, and are checked before every flight by pilots and engineers. Routine maintenance is conducted at regular, specified intervals by licensed engineers.
9. Air traffic controllers are trained and licensed professionals operating under a very strict set of rules. All pilots have to abide by the rules of the air.
10. Visualise yourself stepping off the aircraft into the arms of loved ones, or into a lovely warm climate, or into a successful business meeting.
October 17, 2016
Statistically speaking, flying is as safe as it’s ever been. Unfortunately, numbers alone can be of little comfort when you’re truly anxious about boarding a plane. Here are a few suggestions that might help you conquer your fear, combining cold, hard facts with warm words of encouragement. You’ll be on your way to your next destination before you know it, leaving your fear of flying behind for good.
Set yourself up for the best flight possible
You probably already know if you prefer the window or the aisle seat, but did you know that certain areas of the aircraft can offer smoother rides than others? Choose a seat that’s over the wing—a spot that typically provides the smoothest ride—and you won’t be stressing about all those little bumps.
Speaking of seats, there are a few breathing exercises you can do once you’re buckled in to relax yourself before takeoff. It’s a common meditation practice to imagine oxygen filling your body as you take a deep, slow breath—from your nose all the way down to your toes. Close your eyes as you do so to block out distractions. If you’re having trouble focusing, trying using a guided breathing tool like Breathe Sync to pace your breathing and slow your heart rate.
Learn the facts
Facts are important when it comes to aviation safety. Consider this—you have a 50 percent chance of being afflicted by cardiovascular disease, but only a 0.000014 percent chance of being in an airline incident. That means your chance of having an unsafe flight is statistically zero—you’re more likely to win the lottery! You’re even more likely to die of a bee sting.
Part of this is because modern aircrafts are designed to stay aloft in even the most severe turbulence, which is really nothing more than the rapid expansion that occurs when air of several different temperatures mixes. In the vast majority of cases, turbulence will not harm the plane. You can be sure of this because aircrafts undergo rigorous maintenance—both at milestones designated by their manufacturers as well as by pilots and ground crews—before every flight to ensure that they aren’t affected by turbulence or other environmental factors.
Having a drink can calm your nerves when you fly, but this is only the beginning of the self-care measures you can take to reduce your fear of the friendly skies. Consider purchasing an Even More Space or Mint seat for a more relaxing flight experience, or purchasing access to an airport lounge to replace all your negative energy with some well-deserved luxury while you wait to board.
More and more airlines offer inflight Wi-Fi these days, so you can stay connected from takeoff to touchdown. Rather than Googling facts on turbulence or techniques for coping with flying fears, stay busy and engaged. Catch up on emails, work on a paper that’s due soon, or simply chat with your best friend on social media.
Rinse and repeat
At its root, fear of flying is a product of your own behavior and thoughts. The best way to overcome it is to reprogram yourself. Fly as often as possible, taking into account some of the emotional and mental tips mentioned above. With every uneventful flight, your fear will move as far away from you as the ground when your plane reaches cruising altitude.
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Now Arriving: Black History Month
February ushers in Black History Month, and JetBlue is proud to support our .
National Geographic Traveler editor at large Christopher Elliott is the magazine’s consumer advocate and ombudsman. Over the past 15 years he has helped countless readers fix their trips.
Here’s his latest advice:
Reader Question: I’ve developed a fear of flying. What should I do?
My Answer: About one out of every four people has some level of aerophobia, and an estimated 10 percent of travelers have a more severe case, which could ground them permanently.
Fortunately, coping strategies do exist. British Airways offers the long-running “fear of flying” clinics, in operation for three decades.
Led by working pilots and cabin crew, “Flying With Confidence” gives a primer on the basics of flying, with a special emphasis on safety features. Participants then visit a parked plane, and 98 percent opt to take a graduation flight. (Cost is between $315 and $475, depending on the airport.)
Stateside, Soar’s courses range from a class on DVD to a two-hour counseling session with Captain Tom Bunn, a pilot and licensed therapist. No one can guarantee such classes will zap fears, but Soar sessions promise money back “if you’re unhappy with the improvement.”
- Nat Geo Expeditions
You can use the refund to visit a psychologist—another effective method of overcoming aerophobia.
Christopher Elliott is Traveler magazine’s consumer advocate and pens the “Problem Solved” column for the magazine (this exchange appeared in the February 2015 issue). Follow Christopher’s story on Twitter @elliottdotorg.
Do you have a burning travel question? Share it with us in the comments section below for a chance to appear in Traveler magazine.
When you love to travel, but you hate to fly…
Do you have a sense of crippling fear and anxiety every time you board an airplane? You’re not alone. In fact, myself and more than 26 million other Americans suffer from some form of flight anxiety. The good news is that commercial flights are safer now than they ever have been in the history of aviation. Your chance of being in an air disaster is about one in three million – meaning that you would need to fly every single day for 8,200 years to even come close to that statistic. As they say in the Hunger Games, ‘the odds are ever in your favor.’
Whether its a case of the flight jitters or full-blown aviophobia, I’m here to set the facts straight and help you overcome your irrational fear of flying, just like I did.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Educate Yourself
The best way to beat an irrational fear is to be able to separate the facts from the phobia. If you’re like me, thoughts like, ‘What if the engine fails when we take off? or ‘What if there’s too much turbulence?’ will inevitably pop in your head.
Instead of letting these fears control you, challenge them with facts. If you’re afraid of turbulence, do some research into how planes are built to withstand turbulence. Airplanes pass through turbulence all day, every day, and how often have you heard of an airplane actually crashing because of it? At cruising altitude, it just doesn’t happen.
Step 2: Use Logic
Fear of flying, for many, is really a combination of claustrophobia, fear of strange noises and the fear of not being in control. With that being said, phobias are irrational and sometimes the best antidote for them is logic. After educating yourself about the parts of the plane and how it works, do what I did and dive into a rabbit hole of statistics about the flight industry that will help validate your safety. After all, planes are made to stay in the air.
Step 3: Distract Yourself
Let’s face it, aviophobia isn’t going to disappear overnight. So, if you know you are going to be anxious, it’s best to come prepared. Make a list of things to do that will distract you during the flight and try to get through the entire list. For example, listen to a few of your favorite songs, learn to control your breathing through meditation, or even treat yourself to a mini facial with a smart mask treatment, like UFO. Having something to do besides worry about the fate of your flight will give you a sense of comfort and help to put your mind at ease.
Step 4: Face Your Fears
Facing your biggest anxieties head-on is sometimes the best way to overcome them. In other words, just keep swimming. Psychologists refer to this as the ‘gradual exposure’ technique, whereby you expose yourself to the thing that you fear, but in small doses. As painful as it may be, the best way to combat the fear of flying is to fly more often. Start by taking short round-trip flights, and work your way towards longer flights. If you aren’t ready to step foot on a flight, start by getting used to an airport terminal and then gradually work your way towards getting on a plane.
Getting over serious phobias can take a lot of work, but if it’s severely impacting your joy of travel, there’s no harm in trying these simple techniques or even talking to a therapist.
What to do if you want to be a helicopter pilot but are afraid of flying?
Several people suffer from the fear of flying. Should that prevent them from flying a helicopter? No. Anyone can overcome aerophobia (fear of flying). For some people, the symptoms will be physiological and for others, psychological. In both cases, the quality of life can be dramatically reduced. As many as 25% of the population would suffer from the fear of flying, but only a small portion of those people would actually suffer from a real phobia.
Physiological symptoms include, but are not limited to trouble breathing, muscle tension, dizziness and heart palpitations. Psychological symptoms can consist of impaired memory, poor judgment, and people may also feel more irritable.
What are the causes?
Most people suffering from aerophobia have experienced a stressful flight or a plane crash. It could also be caused by the wide airline disasters coverage in the news. Most people are actually afraid of mechanical problems during the flight.
If your parents, other relatives, or even friends suffer from fear of flying, it seems like you could also be more likely to be afraid as well.
It could also develop after a trauma. For example, if a child has to fly frequently to see his parents after a divorce, he could develop a fear of flying as a way to cope with the divorce.
Other phobias can also cause the fear of flying, or make it worst, such as claustrophobia, or fear of germs, since you are forced to spend time in a confined space with lots of strangers.
Overcoming Fear of Flying
First, an appointment with a qualified mental health professional would be the best thing to do. The cause of the phobia could then be determined, which would help to treat your fear of flying. However, it seems that it could be treated even without knowing the exact cause. The first step would be to sign in for a fear of flying course, usually lasting two to three days, in which cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to treat people by replacing negative thoughts with more rational thoughts.
Hypnotherapy can also be an effective treatment for mild aerophobia.
How I went from terror and panic while flying to total calm
Like many people around the world I had a fear of flying.
There was no particular reason, no crisis, no extreme weather, no terrible experience, in fact I had flown worry free for some time when one day terror struck and I had a massive panic attack. I was unable to comprehend that this metal cylinder with a glass window between me and the open skies was able to stay up.
When we landed My journey to take to the skies again, and overcome my fear of flying began.
For a while I just gave up and convinced myself I was not missing anything and that I would simply not fly again.
As time went by this began to become quite difficult as I was required to fly interstate for work. I drove 500-600 kms to destinations and then drove home again..
I flew to Queensland from Melbourne, got on the plane, got off the plane, got on the plane and flew in terror. I decided I could not fly home, so hired a car and drove the 1679.5 kms home. During my non flying time a close friend died in Perth, 3417.1 km away and I dragged my partner by car from Melbourne to Perth for the funeral and then back again. This took about 4 days each way, as driving at night is not an option due to the danger of the wildlife on the roads from dusk til dawn. It was becoming ridiculous as we were also unable to take overseas holidays or enjoy what others take for granted.
I was determined to change my mindset and enjoy flying and all the benefits it offers. My journey began.
As a flight attendant, I meet a good number of passengers who are afraid of flying. This fear usually increases during turbulence. Most of the time the passenger is able to remain calm enough to not disturb others around them, but occasionally the fear overtakes them. I even had a passenger once scream, “We’re going to die. ” What do I do in these situations? How do I help fearful passengers calm down? Here are the ways I try to help my passengers overcome their fear of flying:
First I want to tell you about my most fearful passenger I ever had, and how I helped him calm down. Before we even finished boarding, we knew this passenger was going to have a tough time. Right when he came onboard, he asked, “Is it too late to buy extra life insurance? I forgot to buy extra in the airport!” We were flying on the 767-200, 3-class service, and I was working in business class, left side. He was sitting in business class on the right side. The flight attendant working on that side offered me $20 to swap places with her, she knew the man would be more drama than she could handle. I swapped with her and the flight began without incident. About an hour into the flight we went through an area of turbulence. The seatbelt sign came on and I began to walk through the cabin to check that everyone had fastened their seatbelt (as required by the FAA). The turbulence got a little worse, to the point where I needed to hold onto the seats to keep my balance. My fearful passenger grabbed his armrests and started screaming, “We’re going to die. ” I rushed over to him, grabbed his shoulders, and told him, “It’s going to be okay. You need to calm down!”
He took a deep breath and said, “Okay…maybe I should take another Zanax.” “I don’t know, sir, maybe you should. But you need to stop yelling and you need to calm down.” He took another deep breath, said, “Okay, I guess as long as I see that you’re not scared then I don’t have to be.” I wanted him to understand that even if I did get scared, he could still trust that he was safe. I told him, “Actually, even if I am knocked to the ground by turbulence and break my leg, as long as you are sitting with your seatbelt on, you will be safe.” He did take another Xanax and was able to relax enough to enjoy the rest of the flight. He offered me a tip at the end of the flight, knowing that he was a little more work than the typical passenger.
The thing about fear of flying is that it is mostly irrational. People know this, they know the chance of a flight catastrophe is slim, but they fear it just the same. These are the things I tell my passengers when they confess to me they are afraid of flying:
During turbulence some people begin to fear the plane will drop out of the sky. I tell them to imagine they are in a boat, riding the waves. The boat is built to ride the waves, just as the plane is built to ride the air “waves”. In fact, the plane is even safer in turbulence, even extreme turbulence, than a boat is in extreme weather. When you imagine the plane as a boat, it suddenly seems less scary as you realize that the rocking and rolling is a normal part of the ride.
In one of my flight attendant training classes we watched a video of the stress test that every airplane goes through before ever flying. The airplane is put in a huge wind tunnel room and winds stronger than a tornado are created. In other words, conditions that the airplane you are in would never be put through are tested. In the video you see the wings of the airplane flexing up and down, which at first can seem a little scary. But then you realize that the flexing is what keeps the wings from snapping right off. So it’s a good thing, like a palm tree flexing in a hurricane. It’s what keeps it from being knocked down. Knowing that the plane is built to withstand conditions far more extreme than what you would ever encounter might help. Trust that you are safe when you are in your seat with your seatbelt fastened.
Most people know these facts, but when fear hits, it can be hard to recall them. Before you fly, give yourself a refresher on these statistics:
I asked my friends and fans what things helped them overcome their fear of flying. One of our readers, Mike Stratton (writer at Mike’s Place: Travel Adventures of Mike Stratton), who has flown 525,000 miles (and never once been in an airplane accident), had this to contribute: (edited to fit blog style)
You could fly every day for something like 25,000 years without being in an accident, and when (if) you are [in an accident], chances are you would survive. The great myth is that aviation accidents are destined to be fatal, but the odds are anyone involved in an aviation accident is more likely to survive than perish.
Regulation, Oversight and Standards of aircraft care are very stringent: Every 6 years or so an airplane undergoes a “D” Check, where it is essentially stripped down to bare metal and inspected thoroughly over a 2 month period and then rebuilt, like new. Flight systems are engineered with multiple redundancies, with many layers of flight safety built into both planes themselves and air traffic control. A plane can take off on one engine, can fly on one engine, and can generate its own power in the event of a loss of electrical power, a RAT (Ram Air Turbine) to thank for that. The aviation industry is much safer today compared to 1985, 1975, 1965, etc. Satellites and communication and sophisticated computers keep the highways in the sky flowing more efficiently and safely.
“Tell them not to worry, and enjoy the ride, because flying is one of the great joys and benefits of living in the 21st Century.” -CSK reader Mike Stratton
Your odds of dying from a fall down the stairs? One in 157,300, according to this post on air safety in The Economist. David Ropeik, a Risk Communication instructor at Harvard University, found in 2006 that the odds of dying in a jet airplane crash are one in 11 million. (source: International Business Times). Maybe we should focus on holding the handrails when walking down the stairs.
(The graphic here says that one in 8,015 die in a plane crash. It’s important to note that the statistic here includes ALL aircraft, not jet airplanes only. The chance of dying in a jet airplane crash is only one in 11 million. Still, the chance of being killed in a motor vehicle crash is one in 112. Big difference no matter which number you use, and most of us don’t get anxiety when driving cars.)
If none of these ideas helps you, here are some additional articles and resources to help you overcome your fear of flying:
Confession: I’m Terrified of Flying Even frequent flyers have this fear. Travel blogger NomadicMatt shares his experience and tips:
Book: SOAR: The Breakthrough Treatment for Fear of Flying (Amazon Affiliate link) I have heard from many passengers that they overcame their fear of flying after going through SOAR. Below is a review and information on the Pilot who developed the program. I haven’t read this myself, but the many positive reviews are testament that it works quite well.
Fear of flying doesn’t just ruin your business trip; it also affects your work.
Do you suffer from fear of flying? Are you reluctant to travel by plane? Are you sitting on board, cramped with sweaty hands, heart palpitations, hyperventilation and nausea? Fear of flying doesn’t just ruin your business trip; it also affects your work. It leads to stress, and stress leads to mistakes.
Fear of flying is very common. Over 30% of all adults suffer from fear of flying. It can happen to anyone. It’s often the result of other problems, such as claustrophobia, fear of heights or control issues. But it’s not very realistic. The risk of a car accident is much higher than the chance of a plane crash.
Fortunately, fear of flying can be treated. During a fear of flying course, you learn what the causes are and what fear is doing with you. If you know why you’re afraid, you can better understand your own behavior. You also learn to deal with emotions evoked by fear, like panicking during your trip, getting sick or losing your temper.
Resolutions for 2017
No less than 98% of people opting for treatment fly without fear afterwards. Is overcoming your fear of flying on your list of New Year’s resolutions for 2017? Follow these tips or do a course to get rid of it for once and for all.
A steel structure of tens of thousands of kilos in the air, that’s a weird idea, isn’t it? The magic word here is air movement. Study the technique of an aircraft. The more knowledge you get, the less fear you’ll have.
Remember that an aircraft is checked endlessly and thoroughly by mechanics as soon as it lands and before takeoff.
3. Separate fear from danger
It isn’t always easy to separate anxiety from danger because your body reacts in exactly the same way to both. Be sure to label your fear as anxiety, and remind yourself that feeling anxious doesn’t mean you are in danger. You are safe even when feeling intense anxiety.
4. Lower anxiety
Eliminate caffeine, energy drinks and other stimulants 72 hours before you fly.
5. Choose the right seat
The seat you get allocated usually won’t offer much legroom. When you fear flying, being in an enclosed space makes it worse. So try to choose a front row or exit row seat. Even if you have to pay a little extra, it’s well worth it. An aisle seat is also highly recommended, as it gives you the feeling of extra space.
Search for distraction by reading a book, listening to music or solving a Sudoku puzzle. Start a conversation with another passenger. Don’t close your eyes (unless you want to sleep) because then you focus unintentionally on every movement of the aircraft.
If it is a long flight, take a walk every half hour. Take your time and focus on breathing deeply with each step.
8. Look at the cabin crew
Notice how comfortable they are and busy doing their work. Obviously everything is fine; otherwise these trained experts would have left the plane while they still could.
Tranquilizers can calm you down and partly take away your fear. Beware: they only treat the symptoms (and not the cause!) and make you slow and drowsy.
If all else fails, there’s an app. The Flight App provided by the VALK Foundation – a Dutch organization looking for ways to fight the fear of flying – can be used during the flight in airplane mode. It provides information to reduce stress if you’re nervous before or during your flight.
Jill A. Chafin is a freelance writer, aerialist, dancer, food enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, and mama, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Read more.
Sep 4, 2019, 6:40 am EDT | 4 min read
A fear of flying can put a real damper on your travel plans. If being crammed in a tiny plane makes you feel claustrophobic, out of control, and anxious, here’s how to deal with it so you can take the trip of your dreams.
People shudder at the thought of stepping onto a plane for many reasons. They may have a fear of heights, or simply hate being smooshed between strangers for hours on end. Other typical fears include the plane malfunctioning or crashing, terrorist hijackings, and ultimately not being in control. Even though the statistics show that flying in a plane is way safer than driving in a car, it’s hard to shake these fears with logic alone.
Here are some common steps to help you work through this anxiety.
Talk to a Professional
We suggest starting here, even with mild cases of flight anxiety. Talking through your fears with an unbiased professional can help you get in touch with the root of your anxiety.
Is it the tight, cramped space? The lack of fresh air? Or all the what-ifs?
Either way, knowing what your specific fears are means you can move forward with more knowledge.
Some popular options for addressing your fear of flying include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and neurofeedback (also known as EEG biofeedback). Some people even try hypnosis, though we’d recommend well-established methods like CBT first.
If you can’t afford therapy, consider recruiting a friend to sit with you and listen as you talk through all your fears. Make sure they act as a soundboard, letting you process it all without offering concrete suggestions.
You can also do a free, online, self-help program to overcome your fear of flying at Anxieties.com.
Learn About Planes
Even though using logic isn’t enough to combat a deep-seated fear or phobia, learning as much as possible can help remind you that even when you feel in danger, chances are you’re going to remain totally safe.
Spend some time reading about planes, their structure, mechanics, what happens during turbulence, even the step-by-step protocol during an emergency. Knowing how much safety training all the pilots and flight attendants get will reassure you that you’re in good hands.
Once onboard the plane, make sure to pay attention to the safety demonstration. This will give you something to focus on, and help you feel more prepared during the flight. You can even ask to peek inside the cockpit—sometimes seeing all the fine details helps break down the mystery of what a plan is all about.
Find Your Perfect Seat
Where you sit on the plane can make a world of difference. Near the front has less turbulence and is often quieter. Some people find the window seat more comforting as it allows them to look outside, thus feeling more in control of their surroundings. Others feel better in the aisle seat so they can get up as needed.
If you have extra funds, definitely upgrade. Being in a wider, more comfortable seat might not eliminate your anxiety, but it’ll help make your flight a little more pleasant.
Meditation and Medication
First, try meditation. You can start by attending classes at home, or check out these 6 best apps to help calm nervous flyers. Download the tracks in advance and listen to them at the airport, while boarding, or anytime you feel panicky. Focus on your breathing—taking long, steady, deep breaths.
Medication can help take the edge off flight anxiety. You can talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for anti-anxiety meds, or order an alcoholic drink once you board (but don’t mix the meds with the alcohol!).
Avoid caffeine as this will make you feel more jittery and awake, and the goal is to mellow you out.
Navigating a busy airport can make any traveler feel exhausted, anxious, or overwhelmed. If you’re already anxious about the flight itself, you definitely want to minimize any stress before it. Here are a few tips to keep your cool once you step foot into a bustling airport.
- Arrive early: If they say to arrive two hours before your flight, listen to this advice. This will allow you enough time to gather your stuff, check your bags, go to the bathroom, get through security, and perhaps enjoy a drink or snack before boarding.
- Use an airport lounge: Many lounges offer a day pass and are well worth the money spent. The seats are comfortable, and snacks, drinks, and free WiFi are generally available. It’s a great opportunity to lean back, close your eyes, and listen to a calming meditation app.
- TSA PreCheck: Even if you don’t plan on traveling much, this is really worth it. Security lines can be insanely long, especially during holiday travel. The logistics of managing your bags, taking off your shoes, removing laptops, and the such can make your head spin. The precheck line is often shorter and much easier to navigate—plus you get to keep your shoes on!
- Look out a window: Spend some time watching planes take off and land. If watching the planes causes some anxiety, breathe deeply through it.
Power Through Your Fears
In the end, it’s up to you how much you want to push through this fear. If getting to Aruba is at the top of your bucket list, then practice those deep breaths, and trust that you can get through this.
Spend some time separating fear from danger. Remind yourself: Even though you feel anxious, you are still safe.
And above all else, anticipate your anxiety. If you simply ignore it, it’ll take you by surprise and be even more powerful. By embracing it, you’ll gain more control over the situation.
Learning to overcome any fear or phobia is challenging. The benefits for this one include opening up your world to endless possibilities for travel and adventure. Just remember to take it one step—and one breath—at a time. And if possible, bring along a friend.
As long as I can remember, my fear of flying always involved absurd “what if?” scenarios. What if the emergency doors open and sucks everyone out of the plane? What if the pilot takes a break to go to sleep? What if a bird flies into the plane and promptly gets sucked into the engine? (Oh, wait.)
It’s those “what ifs” that can cause a lot of travellers extreme anxiety. What if this turbulence knocks the plane right out of the sky? What if the engine explodes? What if the snack cart flies down the aisle, somehow opening the cockpit door and knocking both pilots unconscious?
Whatever your fears, we’ve got some ways for you to cope.
Find the facts
The facts of flying may help you to be less fearful. For example, did you know that air travel is the safest mode of transportation?
According to David Ropeik, a risk communication instructor at Harvard University, your odds of dying in a car accident are about one in 5,000. And your odds of dying in a plane crash are about one in 11,000,000. In fact, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning, with a one in 13,000 chance for your lifetime.
When you’re afraid or anxious, you are completely focused on everything happening around you. You feel the plane drop a little, and you panic. The plane shakes, and your mind automatically thinks of the worst possible scenario.
Practicing visualisation can help you stay as calm as possible.
I imagined that I was driving. I pictured my hands holding a steering wheel. (I did not hold my hands up, because I am not insane.) I felt myself hitting the gas pedal (in my mind). I rode the turbulence like we were on a dirt road, enjoying an adventure, not hurtling through the sky.
Outside of visualisation, there are many other ways that you can keep yourself calm during turbulence:
Entertainment: Have stuff to distract you within arm’s reach. Maybe it’s a book you can’t put down, your favourite movie or TV show, or calming music.
Barf bag: You probably won’t need it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you have it. Your seat might already come with one, but if not, ask a crew member for one when you board or bring your own (make sure it is able to hold in liquids).
Comfy stuff: Soft blankets, a neck pillow, your favourite hoodie or slippers can all go a long way to helping you relax and be in a calmer state of mind when turbulence comes up.
Don’t forget to breathe
When we are experiencing any form of fear, anxiety, or stress we tend to hold our breath. A simple breathing technique to partner with visualisation can relax the body and clear the mind—allowing you to remember that you are safe and ok.
What to do if you’re flying with kids
The reality is that many of us do not fly alone; as the parent or guardian, you don’t want your kids to know how nervous you are. Instead, keep both of you distracted by engaging with them.
Do something together that takes your mind off your mental state. Play Mad Libs or share one of those detailed zen colouring books. Deal a game of Crazy 8s or Gin. Bring a magnetic chess board or a book of crossword puzzles.
When you can, help others
You may get to a point where your fears have calmed down and you’re in the position to help someone else who’s panicky.
But if you do spot someone you think may be having a panic attack and a flight attendant isn’t available or you feel compelled to help, Paz suggests simply approaching the traveller and asking them if they are feeling nervous or panicky. “By labelling the person’s strong reactive emotion, you help in lessening the intensity; it’s comforting to understand what one is experiencing,” he explains.
If Only You Could Enjoy Flying Without Fear.
Hello and welcome, my name is Captain Stacey Chance. I have been flying for a major US airline for over 30 years and have witnessed many nervous and fearful flyers.
Air travel doesn’t have to be unpleasant and for this reason I have developed this interactive Fear of Flying program. Are you concerned about an upcoming flight? Are you a first time flyer or a frequent flyer, but feel uneasy? I want to help prepare you for your next flight. You can overcome your fear of flying right now using my free online Fear of Flying Help Course. You can enroll right here, right now. No schools, seminars, clinics, or classes to attend. No need for drugs, hypnosis, or medication. Take it in the privacy of your home, at your leisure.
*Audio, Video & Book versions are available for purchase.
Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed of your fear, it is quite natural and more common than you think! My Fear of Flying Help Course has helped thousands of people.
- What if the plane hits an air pocket?
- What causes airplane turbulence?
- Which are the safest airlines?
- Can an airliner glide if the engines quit?
- How likely is an airplane crash?
- Which seat is best?
- What about airline safety statistics?
- Can the doors be opened in flight?
- How do I cure motion sickness?
These and more questions are answered in our 100% FREE online course. NO strings attached! After completing the course all that I ask is that you please consider submitting a contribution to help fund this project. Many other programs cost hundreds of dollars, this one is available for YOU anytime, anywhere!
Overcome aerophobia definitely
Designed for iPad
Overcome the fear of flying! Aerophobia is totally surmountable. Compelling reasons, data and statistics to beat the fear of flying at a stroke.
The fear of flying is totally surmountable. We know that it is not that easy, but with our app we are convinced that you will achieve it. Because there is no simpler and more effective method than giving compelling reasons, data and statistics to beat the fear of flying at a stroke.
It is not the airplanes or flying that scares you, but the baseless thoughts that you have at certain times, such as takeoffs, turbulences. Here we deal with everything related to air safety and phobia treatment. Despite your phobia, we know that you are clear that flying is safe, but it still scares you. And this is because phobias are never rational. Once we can identify what is really causing your fear, we can get you to overcome it completely.
You should know that you are not alone, it is a fear that affects approximately 30% of the world’s population to a greater or lesser extent. For that reason, the content of our app is reviewed by professional pilots, and it is the best one you will find in the app store to overcome aerophobia and beat the fear of flying once and for all.
• You will learn why turbulence and air currents do not pose any danger to the plane.
• In addition to the security measures, we will show you the demanding continuous training of the pilots.
• You will know all the operation of the airplanes, as well as the numerous security measures and the exhaustive maintenance of each plane.
• We will see the statistics, and why the possibility of suffering an accident is practically zero.
• Learn everything about air safety systems. You will learn why even if a technical failure occurs, it will never cause an accident. Safety is more than guaranteed.
• We are sure that with our app you will overcome your fear of flying, but even so, you will find techniques and psychological advice to stay calm at all times.
• Best tips for the flight day.
• Relaxing music to meditate and stay calm during the flight.
You will never suffer from aerophobia again, you’ll can enjoy traveling again, and even you can rest pleasantly during your next flights.
The 5-4-3-2-1 exercise can stop panic if you know when to use it.
- What Is Anxiety?
- Find a therapist to overcome anxiety
- An activity that uses all of one’s concentration can control anxiety by keeping anxiety-producing thoughts out of mind.
- The 5-4-3-2-1 Exercise is one way to do that.
- The 5-4-3-2-1 is useful as an emotional-regulation band-aid. It is not an anxiety cure or a panic attack cure.
The 5-4-3-2-1 Exercise is a quick way to dispel anxiety. It is nothing more than a concentration exercise. When using it, you focus on non-threatening things around you. Doing that pushes anxiety-producing thoughts aside.
Better Than Counting Sheep
The exercise was originally a technique to help a person get to sleep. I re-purposed it and named it the 5-4-3-2-1 Exercise to give clients who experience fear of flying a way to break out of the vicious cycle in which an anxiety-producing thought triggers the release of stress hormones which keeps the person focused on the anxiety-thought, which, of course, releases more stress hormones, etc.
Can It Stop A Panic Attack?
The 5-4-3-2-1 can stop a panic attack if it is used early. This means a person must sense when they are headed toward panic. Not everyone can do that. If the 5-4-3-2-1 is used too late, panic can take hold. Then, in a state of overwhelm, any effort to attempt to stop the panic increases the overwhelm. Used early enough, it stops panic. Used late, it makes panic worse.
Go With The Flow?
Years ago Australian Claire Weekes pointed out that, once a panic attack has started, the best way out of the attack is to go along with the ride. She advised panic sufferers to let panic run its course without resistance. Resistance – because it increases the overwhelm – makes the attack last longer. Going with the flow – if the flow is a panic attack – is easier said than done.
The Better Way To Stop Panic.
I’ll teach you how to do the 5-4-3-2-1, but don’t stop there. If panic hits without warning the 5-4-3-2-1 won’t stop it. A newer exercise, the Strengthening Exercises, can. Instead of hoping panic won’t happen, train you mind to keep panic from happening at all. This more advanced exercise is taught in my book, Panic Free.
How To Do The 5-4-3-2-1.
Sit or recline comfortably. Focus on some object in front of you. Keep your focus on it throughout the exercise. If your eyes drift off, just bring them back. Do the exercise out loud first. Then, try it silently. See if one works better for you than the other.
- Say “I see” and name something in your peripheral vision, such as “I see a chair.” Then, say “I see” and name something else in your peripheral vision. Continue until you have made five seeing statements.
- Say “I hear” and name something you hear, such as “I hear a car outside.” Then, say “I hear” and name something else you hear. Continue until you have made five hearing statements. (If there are not five different things you can hear, repeat something you have already named.)
- Say “I feel” and name something you feel physically, not emotionally, such as “I feel my arm on my leg.” Continue until you have made five feeling statements.
That completes the first cycle. It takes intense concentration. That is exactly what is needed. Just concentrate on non-threatening things, and as the stress burns off without being replaced, you become more relaxed.
What about the second cycle? If you always made five statements, you could do the exercise without intense concentration. Your mind might drift back to troubling thoughts. To keep the concentration intense, instead of making five statements, make four statements. Then, in the third cycle, make three statements. Then, in the fourth cycle, make two statements. Then, in the last cycle, make one statement.
It is OK to name the same things. Same or different is fine. Just say whatever comes to mind. If you lose count, that is good because it means you are relaxing.
Please don’t do this when driving, or as they say, when operating heavy machinery!
When you are as relaxed as you want to be, just stop. If you want to be more relaxed, or to fall asleep, repeat the exercise starting at five statements.
- What Is Anxiety?
- Find a therapist to overcome anxiety
Here’s A Video That Teaches The 5-4-3-2-1.
If you’ve ever wiggled your way out of a long-distance trip, neglected to visit faraway loved ones, or passed up a vacation because you didn’t want to have to board a plane to get there, you may have a fear of flying.
Fear of flying is relatively common. Estimates say just 2.5 percent to 6.5 percent of Americans have a full-blown phobia of flying, but general anxiety or nervousness around flights is more widespread.
While the concept of boarding a giant metal tube and ascending 30,000 feet into the air does seem a little wild, in truth, flying is a prudent and reliable way to travel. Steering clear isn’t keeping you any safer—just holding you back from experiences and trips you might love.
When it comes to overcoming the fear of flying so you can say “yes” to taking to the skies, who better to advise you than a professional who operates multiple flights a day, with thousands upon thousands of hours in the air? Tips from pilots prove sound, insightful, and trustworthy for people who avoid planes like the plague.
As one pilot points out, a fear of flying doesn’t have one single root cause, and thus there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
“One person might be afraid the maintenance hasn’t been done correctly, another is bothered by turbulence, and somebody else wants to know the experience levels of their pilots,” says Brett Manders, international airline pilot and author of the book “Behind the Flight Deck Door: Insider Knowledge About Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Ask a Pilot.”
Because every person’s fear stems from a different concern, it’s important to reflect on what, exactly, you’re afraid of, and then tackle the fear from there.
What some fear is not the experience of flying itself, but the possibility that they will panic or be overcome by anxiety during a flight—a deeply unpleasant, even traumatizing, experience with no way out. The enclosed space, lack of freedom, occasional turbulence, and decidedly unluxurious environment all feed into that fear, creating a perfect storm that can cause people to eschew flying altogether for years or even lifetimes. (And that’s not to mention the dramatic headlines of rare crashes and catastrophes.)
It’s true that once you’re in the air, it’s not up to you whether you land, fly, sit, or stand. But what is within your realm of control is you. Practicing meditation, receiving therapy for the phobia, conducting breathing exercises, or having some sort of comfort—be it religious or secular—to which you can cling is essential in combating anxiety and panic. For some, medication may be required; a medical professional will be able to advise specific routes of treatment.
In other cases of aviophobia, approaching the situation rationally, equipped with a toolbox of fear-fighting strategies, can help.
Tom Bunn, a retired captain and licensed therapist, cites some indisputable facts. “We pilots would not be doing this job unless it was safe enough,” he says. “And insurance companies are no fools; they sell pilots insurance at the same rates as non-pilots.”
Bunn has been helping nervous flyers overcome their fear for more than 35 years through his program SOAR and website FearOfFlying.com. His top tip is something he calls the 5-4-3-2-1 Exercise, a meditative method that helps passengers self-soothe and intensely focus on something other than their fear.
Start by saying “I see” and then name something in your peripheral vision; make five of these statements before moving on to “I hear” and naming five things you hear. Your final round is saying “I feel” and naming something you feel—something external, like your leg touching the seat, rather than something internal, such as your racing heart. After you complete a cycle of five statements for each, begin again but make four statements for each sensation, then three, and so on. When you complete the exercise, you can begin again and keep going until you feel calmer and see that your nervousness is manageable.
You can also download the SOAR app for informative videos and advice for getting through the flight, including Bunn’s “Take Me Along” recording that coaches you through a flight, which he says is “like having your own pilot with you.” The app also has a built-in G-Force meter to prove that the plane remains within its mechanical limits, as well as links to turbulence and weather forecasts for your trip.
Tracking turbulence may help ease anxiety for some travelers, as they prefer to know what to expect and when to expect it. Many people are terrified when turbulence hits, imagining that the quick lifts, drops, and shudders signal that the plane is losing control or is in danger in some way. While bumpiness in the air can be an uncomfortable feeling, it’s important to know that turbulence is not a risk to the plane or to the flight.
Captain Steve Allright, a British Airways training captain and director who has run the airline’s Flying with Confidence courses for 24 years, says, “Remember that turbulence is uncomfortable but is not dangerous. It is a perfectly normal part of flying, caused by nature.”
Planes do not crash because of turbulence; it’s merely aberration in airflow, and it doesn’t bother the plane in the slightest. Still, you can opt for a seat at the front of the plane or over the wings to limit how much turbulence you feel.
British Airways has offered the Flying with Confidence course for more than three decades; the one-day program has helped more than 50,000 nervous flyers overcome their fear. It is held regularly at venues around the world and ends with a short flight aboard a British Airways jet, accompanied by a team of pilots, cabin crew, and psychologists. An extra pilot on board provides a commentary on the various phases of the flight.
Lastly, remember that pilots are humans, too—in fact, some of them once battled flying fears of their own before embarking on an airborne career path.
Charles Cunningham, who works at aviation technology company ARGUS International and has 15 years in the aviation industry, says, “I used to fear flying before I became a pilot, and I have a brother who fears flying, who I have to coach every now and again.”
“For me, education was the biggest help with overcoming the fear of flying. Once I understood how an airplane works, many misconceptions related to safety and risk went away,” he says.
Knowing what to expect and getting educated on the flight process can make a world of difference. However, he points out, subduing fear requires working in accordance with your personality and specific fears around flying.
For the number-driven and analytical, looking at the statistics, facts, and science around flying might help, while a person who likes to be in control may be helped by being able to choose their seat, paying attention to what’s going on around them, or even talking to the pilot and seeing the cockpit.
“If all else fails, having good distractions that are immersive or require a high level of concentration nearby, such as movies and games, helps almost everyone,” says Cunningham.
Whatever your fear, there’s one thing you can know for sure. At the end of the day, Manders advises, “Remember your pilots; we have family and friends we want to get home to see also. We are not going to fly an unsafe aircraft or let anything bad happen.”
Skye Sherman is a freelance travel writer based in West Palm Beach, Fla. She covers news, transit, and international destinations for a variety of outlets. You can follow her adventures on Instagram and Twitter @skyesherman