Planning a trip is time consuming. Packing is tedious. Airports are a hassle. But there is perhaps nothing that compares to the emotions that many people experience when flying. Millions of people have a fear of flying, and millions more find it frequently uncomfortable and stressful.
For those that are looking for specific ways to get over their fear of flying, consider the following tips and strategies. Also note: rarely does the fear of flying go away overnight, simply because most people do not have that many opportunities to go on flights in order to reduce their fear.
Step 1: Education Yourself on Planes and Plane Safety
Most people with a fear of airplanes have already been told numerous times that being in an airplane is safe. They may even have researched the numbers. Often these alone do not work. But what you may not have done is educate yourself on why airplanes are so safe.
Step 2: Demystify turbulence
Turbulence seems alarming, but in reality it’s caused by the same routine shifts in wind that bores birds on a daily basis. Like birds, planes are built for it. “Most of the turbulence that the general population encounters is so minimal compared to what the airplane can take,” explains Kevin Kelly, a senior captain with a major U.S. airline.
Step 3: Learn about built-in safety features
Becoming familiar with how carefully planes are designed to withstand emergencies can be comforting. The pilot and co-pilot are highly trained to deal with emergencies as well. “Recurrent training is every 6 months,” says Kelly. He has been flying for over 40 years, but he and other commercial pilots are constantly refreshing their skills.
Step 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.
Step 5: 4. Keep distracted
Watch the movie even if it’s bad or you have seen it already. Read a book or do a crossword puzzle. Do anything that keeps your mind occupied and not dwelling on morbid possibilities.
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