Your fear of flying does not have to stop you from traveling to the cities you have always wanted to visit. By taking a few simple steps, you can overcome your fear and become more accepting of air travel.
The fear of flying, or flying anxiety, is not uncommon, although it affects people differently comments ronaldshapiro.com. Some may feel a low level of stress or anxiety when they consider taking a flight. They would rather not fly, but they don’t alter their behavior to accommodate the fear. Others are nearly incapacitated at the thought of flying, and they will go to great lengths to avoid it, if at all possible. In extreme cases, the fear of flying can manifest itself with panic attacks or nausea, even at the sight of an aircraft. About 20 percent of the population says that flying anxiety interferes with what they would like to do.
In this article, investor and pilot Daniel Calugar pulls inspiration from the guide the Anxiety and Depression Association of America provides to nervous flyers. Here is a look at the four best steps to conquer a fear of flying.
Identify the Fear
For about 90 percent of flight phobics, worrying about being overwhelmed by anxiety during a flight causes pre-flight stress. This fear of fear is different from being afraid of something terrible happening during a flight. Logic and common sense can quell the idea that you are unsafe during a flight. Statistics prove that you are, indeed, safe. But dreading that you will be overcome with panic during a flight can cause great anxiety outside your control.
Experts agree that the anxiety over the possibility of being overcome with fear usually stems from an experience when a panic attack, unrelated to flying, happens during a flight. This unfortunate experience is then associated with flying but is rarely caused by a traumatic event in the air.
Understanding that your anxiety is only associated with flying, and not caused by flying, can be a good step toward breaking that mental association.
Identify the Triggers
Giving in to your anxiety by avoiding aviation will not usually help your fear of flying go away. Once you understand that your pre-flight anxiety is caused by a concern that something will trigger anxiety during a flight, work toward identifying those triggers. This will, in most cases, require steps leading up to and including taking a flight.
In severe cases, start by taking a trip to the airport. Monitor your anxiety level for signs of a trigger. Maybe it is the sound of planes taking off or landing. Perhaps it is the smell associated with jet engines.
If possible, start by taking shorter flights and taking note of what happens during take-off or landing or turbulence. This will help identify the exact events that may trigger the overwhelming anxiety you are afraid of.
Seek Professional Treatment
Anxiety disorders are treatable. Anxiety therapy can equip you with techniques or medications that will help you control your reaction to the identified triggers. Breathing techniques can be useful in providing a defense against anxiety. Once you have proven to yourself that you can control the in-fight reaction to stimuli, you can begin to reduce the pre-flight fear of becoming anxious during the flight.
Learn the Facts
Anxiety can be tricky in that it does not always yield to common sense or even specific knowledge. But knowledge can help. Read about airline safety. Knowing that you are statistically much safer in an airplane than you are in an automobile can equip you with a compelling argument against the part of you that starts to feel fear during flight. If your fear is triggered during a flight, recite in your mind the safety facts you have learned. This technique may help you defeat the rising anxiety and give you the confidence to stay in control.
About Daniel Calugar
Dan Calugar is a versatile and experienced investor with a background in computer science, business, and law. He developed a passion for investing while working as a pension lawyer and leveraged his technical capabilities to write computer programs that helped him identify more profitable investment strategies. When Dan is not working, he enjoys spending time working out and being with friends and family. As a pilot with over 2000 hours of single-pilot experience flying business jets, he enjoys flying volunteer flights for Angel Flight.