The fear of flying affects around 21 million people in the UK, meaning this is a pretty common anxiety. Some flyers are worried about the confined space, some hate the lack of control, and some have a fear of heights. But having this anxiety shouldn’t stop you from travelling. So, stop what you’re doing, pack your bags, apply for a GHIC, and read these tips on how to get over your fear of flying so that you can continue to travel round the world.
Separate fear from danger
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to danger. However, danger may not always be the reality of your situation. Anxiety heightens the feeling of fear which can make your reality seem much more dangerous than it actually is. It’s important to remember in this time when fear hits that you are safe even when feeling intense anxiety.
Talk to flight attendants
Flight attendants are there to make sure your flight is comfortable and that you are cared for. They are trained to handle situations in which passengers feel anxious or scared to calm you down and ensure your safety. Flight attendants are required to undertake in-person training regularly and are up to date on all safety procedures. Their number one priority is the safety of the passengers. This should help you feel at ease during your flight.
Pick a seat to avoid triggers
What scares a lot of people with the fear of flying is the lack of control. Being able to pick your seat allows you regain some control. You can also pick your seat to avoid certain triggers. For example, if you’re scared of heights, you can pick an aisle seat. If you need to know what’s going on outside at all times, then you can pick a window seat. If you have a lucky number and you feel more comfortable sitting in a seat with that number, then you have the option to do that. And for those who may be claustrophobic, upgrade your seat to first class to be able to move more freely.
See a therapist
Depending how severe your fear of flying is, there is the option to see a therapist. Mental health professionals can help your fear of flying through cognitive behavioral therapy and other methods. You can also be prescribed anti-anxiety medication which can help settle your nerves. Hypnosis is also a great option which can help the subconscious mind to release the fear of flying by the route of the cause.
Ignore your anxiety completely by finding a distraction that works. Whether that’s a gripping podcast, movie, book or even game to keep your mind preoccupied and have some fun. Some even find brain training tasks useful, for example attempting to write with your opposite hand or counting how many of a certain object you can see. Including a distracting task or object can help to ease your fears and take your mind off any turbulence.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg.
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