How to Overcome Your Fear of Flying

on Thursday, 22 March 2012. Posted in Aerospace, Business

Fear of flying is a common phobia, but in today's society, it can be debilitating. Here's how to overcome your fear.

How to Overcome Your Fear of Flying

The fear of flying is evident in many people, whether triggered by past experiences or lack of knowledge; it can affect many things. Whether you are unable to travel away for family events and holidays or have to decline business trips — it can hinder a vast part of our life. Fear of flying can stem for a pure lack of understanding of the way a plane works and why turbulence occurs. Another is the fear we have in regards to the plane crashes that have happened over the years. Here are five ways to confront your fear of flying and hopefully help you overcome your fears.

You simply must understand that in order to eradicate the anguish and horror of flying, a true desire and determination is needed; else you will not succeed!

Read a book!

OK so sitting down and reading a book may not be number on most people's priorities; however if you're serious about overcoming your fears then, The Flying Book: Everything You've Ever Wondered About Flying on Airlines, is a must have. This book runs through all the relevant and essential statistics about previous flights, for instance — there have been more deaths in the USA in car accidents than there have been in airplanes worldwide! Now, books like this accentuate the reality of flying, and show that it is one of the safest and secure ways to travel.

Take a course.

There are courses available to the reluctant flyer, such as turbulence courses. These expose you to the fact, the real facts; not just murmurs on a plane of why there is turbulence. These courses are highly beneficial and you will leave with the solid facts. There are other courses soon to be available such as terrorism courses, engine failure, claustrophobia, lack of control and weather — these all also fixate on the preventions and actions taken.

Flying Lessons.

If you fear flying, then taking a flying lesson may seem like you are diving straight into the deep end! Nonetheless, this is one of the better ways to overcome your fear. As seen in the picture; a flying lesson is taking place. With you in complete control of the plane and all technicalities explained to you — this will be rewarding in the grand scheme of things. There is a higher risk of fatality by flying a small plane such as the above, than traveling on a large commercial airline.

Identify the core problem.

Identifying the core of the problem is essential — there must be an initial fear that triggers the anxiety and worry. Once this core has been established only then can your persevere and overcome. You must try and imagine the process of boarding a flight; at which point does the fear kick in? Why? More often than not, the fear is usually there because of a lack of understanding. This is where the aforementioned courses and books will be crucial in arming you with knowledge.

Have a plan!

The most important advice I can give is to always have a plan! Without a strategy and a determination to beat your fear, you won't actually get anywhere. You must find out how airplanes work and what actually happens in the cockpit. There are hundreds of videos available for you to watch — they cover what happens during take-off, landing and turbulence.

Take comfort also in any safety instructions given to you. These safety measures and instructions are not there to scare, but to educate. Also, it is useful to practice "thought stopping" techniques designed to avert your attention onto something else, for instance, thinking about your destination! Physical exercises are also important to keep the blood flowing better and to maintain normal temperatures and heartbeat.

There are so many people and tools available to help you as an individual — you just need to truly want to help yourself. The rest will be the easy bit!

Jon Quinton currently writes for Cancer Research UK — working to improve treatments and understanding of cancer.

Copyright © Jon Quinton. Used with Permission.

Comments (1)

  • Glenn Horowitz

    Glenn Horowitz

    23 March 2012 at 21:01 |
    I actually think one factor you mention tends to be the most significant of the bunch: control.

    To the average person unfamiliar with aviation, it seems like black magic. Plus, if you've only experienced aviation as depicted in movies or television, you've been presented with a terribly skewed view, especially in regards to general aviation pilots, who are always depicted as incompetent, unstable or risky personalities.

    Couple that with the fact that most people prefer to control what they're doing, especially when that activity is something their life depends upon.

    Some explanation of what's happening and some hands-on time in an airplane go a long way to easing peoples' unease. Your other suggestions are fine, mind you, but I'm speaking as one who flew for more than 30 years, 20 of them professionally, and I can attest that indulging the 'control freak' in all of us (meant in a strictly positive way regarding folks' wish to control their own destiny) makes it loads easier to trust the pilot of that light plane or airliner.

    Thanks!

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