Do you love to travel, but have an intense fear of flying? Are you so afraid of flying that you often avoid doing so? The good news is you’re not alone and this “aviophobia” you have can be fixed. I myself once had a fear of flying, but overcame it and I’m sure you can do the same.
First, there are a few things we can do to take our mind off of the fear. I found that talking to strangers is a great way to keep your mind off the issues. Yes, I know, you’re that guy/gal talking to strangers about nothing before you board the flight, on the flight, etc., but I’d rather feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger than not being able to get on a flight to visit friends or family. Often, if you mention to the person sitting next to you that you’re a little nervous of the flight, vocalizing your fear will help you overcome it. I’ve also noticed that chewing gum can help take your mind off a stressful situation, so it always helps to have a pack of gum with you just incase the fear intensifies mid-flight.
Majority of the time, people are not necessarily afraid about the flight itself, but more afraid of how they will behave leading up to and during the flight. Often if someone is afraid they will have a panic attack on the flight they might avoid flying. One of the biggest keys to overcoming my fear of flying was getting to the root of what was causing the fear and identifying how I was feeling. I began to reframe my fear of flying. I told myself that what my body was telling me is that I was excited. After a few flights, I was no longer afraid, but rather excited. My body was creating feelings of fear which I mentally converted into enjoyment and excitement. Visualizing turbulence as a fun ride and responding by laughing from enjoyment helped me become comfortable with turbulence. Also, visualizing the destination and how you’ll feel when getting off the plan can help make the flight more enjoyable.
As with all fears, they are mental blocks that are often caused by our perception. Distraction from the nervous thoughts are a fantastic way to get through a flight or two, but overcoming the fear is the only way to eventually enjoy flying again! When I first started to confront my fear I spent hours and hours researching how “safe” airline travel is, but no matter how many facts and figures I looked at I was still afraid. It wasn’t until I decided to change my view of flying from one of being fearful to being excited that I regained the confidence to fly and enjoy travel again.
Just remember, you’re not crazy because you’re afraid to sit in a small metal tube flying 500MPH through the air at 30,000 feet! A fear of such a thing is natural, but if you feel that your fear is setting you back, it might be time to get to the root of the fear rather than sitting back and thinking “I’m going to be afraid forever.”
Please share any helpful tips that you have used to overcome a fear of flying in the comments below.