Flying can be a terrifying experience. You have been there before, or you can at least picture it: everyone is buckled in. The kid two seats away obviously doesn’t have a fear of flying, as she squeals in delight. The plane is now sitting at the end of the runway. So far just normal jitters. Then it begins! The engines spool up, whining, straining against the breaks. Now there is a low rumble in the seats, the noise increases; the breaks let go and everyone is pushed back into their seats for the full length of the runway. Then the leap from solid ground to the invisible air!
For some, flying excites and thrills. For many, flying brings vacation and fun, or tedious business trips. For others, whatever the reason, flying terrifies. Dwelling on the worst-case scenario can creep in steal away what might be quite an enjoyable experience – or at least a tolerable one. So then, how can one get rid of the fear of flying? Follow the suggestions below to find out!
1. Don’t let fear rule the day.
Simply stop watching the news and looking on the Internet for every plane crash as a way to justify the fear.
Avoiding fear is a great idea because the more a thought is meditated upon, the more real the possibility becomes within the mind. Replace this fear in your mind by choosing to dwell on a more pleasant experience and make that reality something to strive for.
2. Eat a solid diet, get some rest, and get some exercise.
One way to deal with mental anxieties generally speaking is to maintain physical health. Eat a balanced diet. Avoid sugary, fatty, and processed foods as much as possible. They may taste good going down, but they do not contain enough of the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Eat good feel good is a saying for a reason!
You also need to make sure you are getting enough sleep each night. Chemicals needed by the brain for proper function during the day are replenished during the time you spend asleep. Without enough of these chemicals the brain becomes sluggish and unable to cope as well as it normally does with stressful situations.
Along with eating and sleeping well, regular exercise each week can do wonders to help keep the blood pressure lowered. It also has the added benefit of helping the body to sleep more soundly. Going through an anxiety inducing situation can seem a whole lot less severe when the body is prepared to cope.
3. Get the facts about flying.
Fears are often rooted in misinformation. Research the truth about flight to put yourself at ease. Flying is strictly regulated. Safety laws for aircraft manufacturing, as well as flight regulations, have to follow very specific standards. Though the news may seem to report on flying mishaps more than on car accidents, flying really is the safer mode of transportation. For those who like to compare statistics, check out the National Safely Council to see just how safe flying is in relation to other modes of transport.
Statistically speaking, flying is in fact the safest form of transportation that we have available to us. No other form of transportation goes through the same series of checks and balances to make sure everything is in proper working order. Investigations are constant and ongoing. If you are looking for comfort, take comfort in the fact that you are in safe and capable hands with whichever airline you choose.
Also, some people find that the more technical information they have about an object, the less mysterious it is, the less they have to fear about it. The science of flight, aerodynamics, the parts of an aircraft, and the control surfaces (amongst others) all work together in a well-orchestrated symphony to transport people from point A to point B.
It is also important to know thyself, however. If all of the technical information would be boring, or only add to the confusion of flying, then do not bother with it. The goal in finding more information is to lessen the fear. If research will not help with this, then it is unnecessary.
4. Talk out your fear of flying.
If talking with a friend about the issue does not alleviate your worries, then consider counseling or therapy. Perhaps there is a past experience that causes the fear: a forgotten memory from the distant past can causes anxiety that wells up whenever an airplane passes overhead, for instance.
A registered counselor or therapist could help get to the root cause of the fear and help to overcome this fear through various cognitive and behavioral exercises. If they feel it would be appropriate they may also suggest a visit to a doctor.
Perhaps you have tried several ideas without success, or time is of the essence; the trip is a last minute thing and there is no time to prepare or seek counseling. Talking with a family doctor about medication may prove useful as a short-term fix for getting over the fear of flying. They can recommend over-the-counter medications that can help calm minor jitters, and even prescribe something stronger if they feel it is necessary. Likely it would be some form of sedative that is taken shortly before the flight and would last for the duration of the flight.
When taking any medication, it is important to always follow the doctor’s instructions, taking only the prescribed dose, and remember to never consume alcohol and medications at the same time.
Reasons for the fear of flying can be more varied than discussed here, as can the ways to overcome the fear. Some people who are so crippled by the fear of flying will travel hundreds of miles in a car or bus to get out of a flight that would take an hour at best. The reasons for this fear can vary from past experiences, to an overactive imagination, to some obsessive compulsive disorder. Whatever the reason, the best place to start is talking with someone you trust. “A burden shared is a burden halved,” as T.A. Webb says.