How to overcome the fear of flying?
So you have a feeling that something might go wrong with the flight before it takes off. What if the engine fails, or what if a bird flies right onto the fan? (well possibilities, right?). The fear of flying can be quite tiresome at times.
Yeah, possibilities, something that we cannot avoid once we develop a fear. But you are not alone, just like many others reading this post to seek a way out. I too feel it just like you. And even after all these travel stories, I still feel it.
Well, it is neither something to be embarrassed about nor to hide, as a lot of people including people who travel often, feel scared too when boarding. Of course, we all know that we are being delusional and that it’s just irrational anxiety but yeah, I understand you when you say that it is hard to deal with.
Because I still have it and have been through it a lot of times too. I do not know how it started or what it is going to take for it to completely vanish one fine day. But all that I know is that I can’t stop traveling and this fear, well I guess we just have to deal with it, right?
So here are a few things that help me throughout the flight, along with a few things that I plan on doing from my next flight journey. I hope this helps you too to deal with it and maybe someday the fear might vanish because of something you do, and you can share with me too, the magic trick.
Accept your fear and do not be ashamed of it.
The first thing to do, whatever the fear you possess, is to accept it and tell yourself that it is normal to have it. After you accept it, the next thing to tell yourself to stop feeling is the feeling of shame. Every human being has some or other fears, there might be people that are scared of things that might seem sillier.
So as long as you do not judge anybody’s fears, there is nothing for you to be worried about either. Also, 30 to 40% of human beings possess a fear of flying. So hey, there is a good chance, at least 5 passengers in your flight feels the fear mutual.
The moment you accept your fear and learn to not be ashamed or insecure about it, you have made a huge leap, celebrate it.
Have a companion in need
If you feel that the fear is quite unbearable to think about, have someone to help you. As wonderfully quoted in one of the best animes of all time, Haikyu,” being fearful is a waste of time if you just cannot get over it, have someone help you”.
Somebody who can cradle you if need be, or somebody who you can talk to and forget that your fears ever existed. They can be anyone, a parent, a partner, a friend, anyone who you have fun with.
Try rationalizing your irrational fears
We are all practical creatures. So, one thing that I like to do is to talk to myself and make myself understand why my fear would be illogical. At some point in our fear, we understand and tell ourselves that it is quite delusional.
Tell yourself that the chances of such a thing happening in the modern world are quite rare. So, talk to yourself. And even though it might not erase your fear, it might calm you down considerably.
Do not rush yourself
This is something that I always always make sure of doing. If you have a flight at 10, don’t leave thinking you will reach exactly on time for the check-in and boarding. You might make it in time but you are just going to rush yourself. Make sure you give yourself ample amounts of time to do things.
Even if you get there a bit early, you just get more time to relax. I usually complete my check-in early, roam a bit in the duty-free shop, and then grab a burger from Mcdonalds. Since I love food, this calms me down a lot and tempts me to like coming to the airport.
Also, I make sure I roam about in the airport and explore every shop inside (especially if I’m traveling through the Dubai Airport.)
Learn more about turbulence and other little noises.
So if you are on the flight, and have your anxiety going on, every sound would pump your heart a bit faster. The only thing to do is to get familiar with it. The first time I was in a plane and it shook, I remember my heartbeat racing.
My dad just told me that it is traffic in the air and that the clouds are just making a mess. He then comforted me by saying that our plane is stronger and that it gets through quite easily. Since then, when we encounter turbulence, I tell myself that hey it’s okay, it is just clouded in the sky. Water vapor right? our plane will get through.
Keep yourself busy on the flight
Now, this is something that I started doing before I realized my fear. If it was a short flight, it would almost be impossible for me to sleep. Hence I always kept myself engaged by watching movies or reading a book. Booking flights that have all these features along with it, will definitely comfort you a lot while traveling.
If your flight does not have a monitor or maybe the one in the flight does not show your fav shows, download your most fav shows and movies on your mobile or laptop, and see them while on the flight. This will help you tremendously, trust me. Also having a snack or a meal, even if a short flight, will help you calm down a lot.
So just keep it in your mind to remain busy throughout the flight duration.
Having the luxury to talk to the pilot before the flight
You could talk to some of the flight attendants before settling down in your seats. You could even ask to see the pilot if that helps your fear of flying. This might not just help you with your fear but also might be a good experience in itself. At the very least, you’ll feel more welcome on the flight.
Not just for handling your fear, but always treat comfort like it is your number one priority. Even while you are dealing with your fear, if you are comfortable, you will find out that your mind is getting used to it pretty decently.
Good seats are also an absolute must. So next time when you book a flight, reserve a seat for yourself. And really think about what you want. If one of the things that make you feel anxious about the flight is the number of people, then go for an aisle seat.
This might also help you feel like you’re more in control of what’s happening to you. However, if being in control means knowing exactly what happens, go ahead and choose a window seat. The beauty of the clouds in the sky could even be slightly therapeutic.
You could also try distracting yourself. This used to really work for me when I was younger. I was so sure of how painful my ears popping would be that I would distract myself somehow by the time we were about to land. I would either be watching movies or hearing songs at full volume or I would sleep off just before we landed
So, try that out. Watch a heartbreaking drama, a cute rom-com, or an action thriller that gives you an adrenaline rush or even play games to take your mind off of it.
Remember why you are flying and just breathe.
It might be going to a new place, having an adventure, or going home to your family. So more often than not, we have a really good reason for flying. When you’re feeling anxious about your fear of flying, it might be a good idea to think of all the reasons you’re going to your destination for.
Take deep breaths. Think of what you are going to do the moment you land. Write down the things you want to do in the new place. The foods you want to try. The experiences you want to explore.
Simple breathing techniques also work. It tricks your brain into thinking that you’re in rest mode. It automatically reduces stress and makes you calmer.
Yes, some apps are designed specifically for you to calm down during flights. Some talk to you and try to slowly calm you down during the flight. Some work on hypnotization levels while some keep you occupied with games throughout.
Some of these apps also give you all the information you need about the weather and how everything is doing. You would be able to ask questions that worry you even through airplane mode.
Some of the best apps that would help you overcome your fear of flying would be:
- ANA Takeoff Mode
- Overcome the Fear of Flying
These apps are available for both Apple and Android users currently.
If what you feel is more than just a little anxiety, having a sleeping pill or two would help you feel calmer during the flight. A mild sedative might result in a more peaceful flight and maybe even good sleep. Otherwise, you could also choose to see a therapist.
Find out what’s really worrying you and work on it. Let this be the last resort, as indicated by its position in this article. You are built to be capable of overcoming any fear that you have.
At the end of the day
Nowadays, when flying, I have realized that my fear usually is more before boarding the flight rather than when in it. And that is because of the thoughts that my mind wanders into. As I understood and really realized my problem, I was able to face my fear better.
At the end of the day, that is the only solution to facing your fear. No matter what fear it is, you have to understand the fear and tell yourself that it is quite okay to feel it.
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