While very few people ever think twice about getting into a vehicle and traveling daily to and from work, there are millions who may choose to never step foot on an airplane due to a fear of flying. This makes going on out-of-country vacations difficult and it can cause some serious negative reactions if you do hop on a plane.
Those who suffer from flight anxiety may pass out, have racing thoughts, incur cold hands, an increased heart rate, trembling, nausea, and shortness of breath. Before we jump into how you can overcome a fear of flying, we are going to go over what causes aerophobia and what flight anxiety is, so that you can better understand how this fear works.
What is Flight Anxiety and What Causes It?
Aerophobia, or the fear of flying is an anxiety that is so intense that it prevents individuals from being able to travel by air without distress. Those who are affected by flight anxiety will find airplanes and air travel terrifying and may go to extreme measures to avoid flying completely. For those who have interests in airplanes or piloting may suddenly drop their interest due to aerophobia, which can have profound limitations on one’s career or hobbies. While many individuals may describe their anxiety as having a panic attack, this is quite rare and what individuals actually describe are anxiety attacks that occur due to being worried or fearful about a particular situation, such as getting on an airplane and flying.
While there is no exact cause of aerophobia, the fear often originates from a combination of other factors. If your parents were afraid of flying, you could have picked up on this, or you may have a fear of heights, or you may have had too much media exposure to plane crashes. For most though, it is the inability to control their situation and their own safety that causes the fear. Other phobias, such as a fear of heights, fear of enclosed spaces, and a fear of vomiting, can also play a major role in your fear of flying.
How to Overcome a Fear of Flying: Natural Methods & Steps You Can Use!
1) Choose Education and Knowledge as a Combative Measure. One of the ways you can combat your fear or flying and learn how to overcome it is by getting educated about the topics that trigger you. For instance, if your fear of flying is triggered by experiencing turbulence on flights, consider learning about the science behind why turbulence occurs and how the plane is built to go through it and withstand it. You can learn about the safety regulations that pilots must enact when the plane experiences turbulence and you can learn about the training that pilots and stewardesses go through in order to help passengers with turbulent flights. For any trigger, you can use science, safety, and understanding to help you stay calm during your flight.
2) Arm Yourself with Exercise Before the Flight. If you are incredibly tense leading up to your flight, this is only going to negatively push you towards stressing out about the flight. Instead, exercise and tire your body out so that you can be more at ease when you step on board.
3) Avoid Stimulants That Could Increase Anxiety. Avoid drinking any type of caffeine (tea, coffee, energy boosts) and alcohol (of any percentage) before getting on the plane or the night before. Both can disrupt your sleep cycle, making you sleep deprived and more prone to anxiousness. Caffeine can cause your heart rate to increase, making it more difficult to control your flight anxiety.
4) Make Yourself Physically Comfortable. When you are feeling physically comfortable, it is a lot easier to achieve emotional comfort and calmness. Bring a blanket with you and use that to help you sleep or spray a scarf with your favorite scent and wrap yourself in it. You can also bring noise-canceling headphones and bring soothing music, a podcast, or your favorite audiobook with you and use that to a) focus on, b) make yourself more comfortable, and c) drown out the other passengers.
5) Choose an Aisle Seat if You Are Claustrophobic. If you believe that your fear of flying comes from being crammed into a small space, consider booking an aisle seat so that you are not hemmed in by other people. This will allow you to get up and move around the cabin and it prevents you from staring out the window at those sky-high views.
6) Sit Towards the Front of the Plane. Not only will it be quieter, but you will also endure less bumpiness during the flight. This can help you stay calm as you will be disturbed less by your environment.
7) Visit the Cockpit and Meet the Crew. If you are one of the first people on board, consider asking a flight attendant if you can pop into the cockpit for a minute or two and meet the pilots. This helps many people become at ease as it creates trust with those who hold your safety in their hands, and it allows you to see the functioning control panel. When the airplane feels like a friendlier environment, you are better able to combat that fear of flying and learn how to overcome it at the moment.
8) Consider Paying Extra for the Airport Lounge. If you can spare the extra money, consider paying for access to an airport’s private lounge. These are luxurious areas within the airport that are built away from the hustle and bustle of the terminals. They are often reserved for those who fly a lot or for those who are club members, but day passes can be bought. It is a nice way to soothe your senses before hopping onto your flight.
9) Remind Yourself That You Made the Decision. One of the triggers with a fear of flying is the inability to control one’s situation. While you may not have a direct influence over the performance of the aircraft or the safety measures in place, you can remind yourself that you made the decision to fly and you can decide on how you want to experience the flight. You are in control of how you respond.
10) See a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist. If you work with a therapist on how to overcome your fear of flying, you can change your responses by changing your thought patterns. A therapist will work with you on addressing your general anxiety to airplanes and reduce the intensity at which you experience flight anxiety. They may also use exposure therapy to help you become more comfortable with the aircraft.
11) Consider Attending a Fear of Flying Clinic with Pilots and Flight Attendants. If you do not want to see a cognitive behavioral therapist on your own, you can attend a fear of flying clinic which will have pilots, psychologists, and airline volunteers to help you through the process of demystifying the ins and outs of flight.
12) If You Can Work Up the Courage, Take a Flying Lesson. You do not necessarily have to hop into the cockpit of a real plane to do this, as there are simulations that you can use, but getting your hands on the control panel may help you get back your sense of control.
13) Stop Looking for Problems in the Plane. It can be easy to watch the flight attendants to see if they are happy, calm, and at ease. But the issue with this strategy is that they may be stressed out for other reasons not related to the flight, causing you to worry and become stressed for no reason.
14) Naturally, Medicate with CBD Oil to Ease Your Anxiety. If you do not want to medicate with sleeping pills or anti-anxiety pills from your doctor, consider using CBD oil instead. Not only is it organic and natural, but there are numerous studies backing that it is a promising treatment for many forms of anxiety, including social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorders. Check This Full Spectrum CBD Oil Bottle
15) Arrive Early & Do Not Rush! Another way to help ease your fear of flying and how to overcome it slowly is to arrive at the airport early and do not rush to your gate. When you rush, your mind races with thoughts which increases your anxiety and stress levels. This stress doesn’t get dropped at the boarding gate and is transferred over with you when you get on the plane. Arrive early to ease this anxious temperament so that you do not have to rush.