6 Tips to Help Overcome a Fear of Flying
Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of summertime is jetting away somewhere nice for a holiday! But for those of you who suffer from a fear of flying, the idea of hopping on board a plane is easier said than done. Phobias like this are common though and with the right approach can be managed, so don’t suffer in silence. Here are six helpful tips to help you take to the air with minimum anxiety.
1 Explore your fear
Figuring out whether yours is a claustrophobic anxiety around being trapped, an irrational fear of crashing or the nervousness of having a panic attack will help you address it. It’s much easier to deal with something you understand, rather than a shapeless dread.
2 Talk it out
Chatting through your fear will enable you to put a shape on it, and in turn make it easier to deal with. Whether this is with a friend, family member, or trained counsellor; it’s good to talk. You can even arrange to speak to the pilot, who should be happy to chat through the journey and alleviate any fears or anxieties you have around the plane and how it works.
3 Educate yourself
Do some reading up on how planes work, what noises to expect from the engine and when turbulence is likely to occur. Or, immerse yourself even more in the process by signing up for a course which offer psychological support before, during and after a flight.
4 Arrive early
There’s nothing worse than racing through the airport, trying desperately to find the correct gate with just minutes to spare. Ensure your journey is calm from the very start, by giving yourself plenty of time before you leave the house, allowing for traffic and queues to get through departure gates. Have any liquids already in a plastic bag as per the rules around hand luggage too, that way you won’t be stressed as you approach the top of the queue.
5 Embrace distraction
Sitting on a plane with nothing to do means your mind is more likely to wander, and worse, focus on what could go wrong. Bring something that will keep you occupied – a book, magazine, iPod, crossword, knitting; whatever you feel will keep you relaxed and make the journey go faster. Or talk to your neighbour, lasting friendships are often formed on flights!
6 Practise mindfulness
When you do climb aboard, take some calming deep breaths and try to focus on the present moment; the people around you, the sounds and smells of the plane. This will encourage your mind to stay in the now, rather than drifting off into panicked ‘what if’ thoughts.