6 Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Flying
If you’re afraid of flying, you’re far from alone. The good news? You don’t have to let these fears prevent you from pursuing your desire to study abroad or to travel the world. Read on for a roundup of five ways to conquer your fear of flying.
Fear of flying can be caused by a number of factors, including claustrophobia or a fear of heights. Many fearful flyers feel irrational anxiety that their plane will malfunction and crash, no matter how many times they hear the statistics about how safe flying is compared to driving. Other travelers worry about terrorist hijackings or panic at the idea that they’re not in control of the aircraft that’s carrying them.
No matter why you’re scared of flying, there are certain steps you can take to help alleviate your fears. Whether or not to fly is a personal decision, and one that no one else can make for you. But for those of you who are determined not to let this change your way of life, below are a few tips for overcoming your fear of flying.
Fake it ‘til you make it.
While the power of positive thinking won’t keep your plane aloft, it will help keep you calm until you reach your destination.
There’s a lot to be said for faking confidence in any situation, but especially when it comes to battling fears and anxieties. If you behave like someone who does not possess a fear of flying, you’ll find yourself much calmer. Pretend that you’re someone who enjoys flying and your brain will be able to register the logic that planes are the safest mode of transportation and that the chances of something catastrophic occurring are minute.
Step onto the airplane with knowledge.
Anxiety thrives on ignorance, and feeds off “what if?” catastrophic thoughts. But once you become knowledgeable, your “what if?” thoughts are limited by the facts. Become familiar with the facts. They will not eliminate your anxiety, but they will help you manage it.
Monitor Your Media Intake
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning: Avoid airplane disaster movies, news coverage of plane crashes, or other scary media images. Remember that the vast majority of flights arrive safely, but only the problem flights make the news. Don’t let that skew your impressions of flying.
Choose your seat wisely.
Turbulence can be alarming to even the most seasoned travelers, while a noisy flight can further exacerbate your tension. Choosing a seat at the front of the plane can be a smoother ride. Plus, according to one JetBlue pilot, “There’s less noise when you’re sitting forward on the wings. In most planes, the engines are located under the wings. Sitting in the front of the wing is like being behind a speaker. All the sounds of the engine and the disturbed air are projected away from you.”
Consider professional intervention.
In some cases and despite your best efforts, you may not be able to overcome your fear of flying without help. A number of flying treatments are available aimed at helping fearsome fliers learn to board a plane with peace of mind. These include professional counseling, medication, and hypnosis. There are even online courses available comprising practical tips and actionable insights into coping with your fear of flying.
Meet the Crew
If there’s time before your flight, ask to meet the pilot of your plane. Alternatively, spend some time chatting with a flight attendant. Often, meeting the folks who hold your safety in their hands can make the plane seem like a friendlier environment and reassure you that that crew is knowledgeable and competent.