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10 Tips to Help You Beat Your Fear of Flying
Nervous about flying? You’re not alone! It’s estimated that 20 to 30% of people are nervous about flying and two to ten percent of people have a phobia of flying. This fear is interesting because the root cause is different for everyone. Flight anxiety can be linked to claustrophobia, agoraphobia, fear of having a panic attack in front of other people, fear of the plane crashing, fear of terrorism, or any number of things. Overall researchers believe that the underlying worry is loss of control.
No matter what the root cause is, there’s no denying that a fear of flying can make life really difficult. You might miss out on a lot of interesting opportunities and important life events. As a result I’ve collected a few strategies to try out, I hope you find them useful!
Even though there is so much fear around flying, planes are actually one of the safest forms of travel. A good first step towards reducing your fear is to research how planes actually work. WikiVoyage provides a very clear overview of how planes work and how the aviation industry works. The Fear Of Flying website also provides a very informative video.
2. Book early
Try to book your plane ticket in advance. This will give you a chance to pick a spot you feel most comfortable in. Window? Aisle? Front of the plane? Back of the plane? It’s up to you if you buy in advance!
3. Timeliness is key
Give yourself time to get to the airport, get through security and find your gate. Don’t add to your stress by having to rush.
4. Ask for help
When you board the plane let the crew know you have a fear of flying. Ask them to check in with you throughout the flight. They are used to nervous flyers and can support you. If you’re travelling with someone you can ask them for support as well!
5. Fly direct
Many people find takeoffs and landings to be the most stressful. If that sounds like you, try to book a direct flight instead of one with layovers. It might be more expensive but if you can afford it it might be worth it!
6. Disarm the alarm
Anxiety exists to alert us to danger so we can survive, sometimes we experience false alarms. When you notice these feelings of anxiety creep up, remind yourself that you are safe.
7. Distract yourself
Try to shift your attention away from your anxiety and on to something calming. This could be reading, listening to music or watching a show. You could also try coping strategies like breathing exercises, meditation, etc.
8. Don’t drink and fly
Although it might be tempting to have a drink to calm your nerves, avoid this if you can! It’s easy to overdo it when you’re very anxious. Drinking might lead to further problems on the flight and you will probably feel worse once the alcohol wears off.
9.Keep up your self care
Travelling will probably throw off your daily routine, but it’s important to stick with your medication schedule. Set an alarm to remind you to take your meds, an alarm will still work on airplane mode. Also, make sure to drink lots of water as flying can dehydrate you.
10. Reach out
If your fear of flying is really impacting your life and you haven’t been able to overcome it on your own, don’t hesitate to ask for help! It might be helpful to connect with a counsellor. If you want more information about getting help check out this article: https://mindyourmind.ca/help/i-need-talk-someone
Kathryn is a recent MSW graduate currently trying to #adult. She is a former mindyourmind staff and continues to work in the youth & community development sectors. In her spare time, she is a proud plant parent, home chef and avid volunteer.
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