These days everyone loves to travel. A house or a car no longer count as a status symbol, but how many stamps you have in your passport. However, about one in four suffers from fear of flying! Some overcome the fear again and again but arrive sweaty at their destination, others do not even get on the plane and miss so much of the world!
What can you do about the fear of flying?
Step 1: Find the cause!
Fear of flying can be caused by a variety of reasons. For example, I got so sick on a plane once that I had to throw up the whole flight. Every flight after that, I was afraid that I would get sick again and all the people would stare at me or the toilet would be occupied again when I needed it urgently. So every time I stood at the airport I was sweaty and felt sick. When I flew to Australia alone for the first time and had a 32 hours flight in front of me, I went to the pharmacy for advice and finally got pills that helped – Vomex. They stabilize your stomach and make you feel sleepy. Since then, I have never had problems with nausea anymore, even during turbulence, and love to fly ever since!
To get the right medication or help, however, you need to know what you are afraid of. Are you claustrophobic? Or afraid of heights? Are you afraid the plane will crash? Or are you afraid of a terrorist attack?
Step 2: Fight the cause!
Fears are irrational and therefore sayings like: “It is more likely to be run over by a car than to crash with an airplane” usually doesn’t help. If you’re afraid of a certain thing, it seems to appear everywhere all of a sudden. Suddenly, you only read and hear about plane crashes and other horror stories. It helps to look at the facts. How many planes really crash every year? How is it compared to other accidents that happen?
Fear of flying is usually caused from the fear of giving up control. People who suffer from fear of flying are often bad co-drivers as well, as they only feel safe when they have control over the vehicle. Here, it could be a start to work on your trust in other people.
In addition, fear of flying usually arises from bad thoughts. For example, if we are attacked, the fear turns into adrenaline and you make the decision between fighting or fleeing. The fear on a plane is caused by noises that we cannot assign, movements that we consider abnormal and the behavior of the flight attendants that we misinterpret because we do not know how bad it is. And at that moment, the thoughts start. We imagine the worst scenarios and our fear takes over because we feel powerless.
Even the slightest turbulence scare people. I remember when a pilot once said that turbulences aren’t bad at all. The aircraft can handle a lot more than we think. Instead of grabbing the seat and stop breathing, you should rather lean back and go with the turbulence – like on a roller coaster. We even pay for the shaky ride. By the way, the flight attendants only sit down for safety reasons, so that they would not get injured during turbulences and not because the plane will crash.
Generally, the fear of flying is just like any other fear – it can only be defeated by facing it. That means flying, finding out that it is not so bad at all and then enjoying the time above the clouds.
10 tricks that can help with fear of flying:
- The right pills. Travel chewing gum, vomex or valerian. People who suffer from fear of flying, no matter for what reason, should take some pills – it will help you.
- Avoid stress before departure. That means you shouldn’t arrive at the airport at the last minute, but rather planning enough time so you can start your journey relaxed.
- Fear of flying is associated with claustrophobia. Therefore, you should choose a place in the aisle (possibly a place with more legroom) to have the feeling of being able to leave at any time.
- Accept the fear and deal with it openly. That’s usually the first thing you learn in a fear of flying seminar. Fighting it and going “cool” doesn’t help at all. Talk about your fear, but don’t drive everyone crazy. Who knows, maybe the person next to you feels the same way you do.
- Eat something light before departure and drink plenty of fluids. Ginger ale can help with a sick feeling in your stomach.
- Control your breathing. When we feel fear, we tend to breathe in and out particularly deeply, which increases the fear. Try to breathe easily, close your eyes and think of something nice.
- Sit straight! Trying to hide your head inside your sweater does not make the fear better. Put your hands on the armrests and place both feet firmly on the floor. This “grounding” can help control your fear of heights.
- Bring something to distract yourself. A newspaper, a book or music. It makes time go by faster and distracts you from your fear.
- Meditate, do relaxation exercises, learn to control your body in a state of anxiety.
- Take an empty bag and wet wipes. It gives you the feeling that you are prepared.
If all these little tricks don’t help, you should consider attending a fear of flying seminar. It would be too bad to miss out on the beauty of the world because of your fear.