Fears and anxieties are for real. However, most of the time our fears and anxieties are unfounded. The fear of flying or flight anxiety is fairly common. Just the idea of flying can make some people panic, give them cold sweats and make them all jittery. The fear is as common as stage fright. But, as I said, it is unfounded and the fear is only in the mind.
Statistically speaking, air travel is perhaps the safest mode of transport. More people lose their lives in car crashes across the United States, than they do in plane crashes. But this data would not mean much to someone who suffers from flight anxiety, because statistics are not known to dispel fears. However, there is a way to work around your fears. Here are a few tricks that you can try if you suffer from flight anxiety.
Identify your fears
What exactly triggers the flight anxiety in you? Once you understand your fears, tackling them becomes that much easier. What makes you anxious? Is it the takeoff or are you scared of heights? Do you feel claustrophobic confined in a metal tube? Does the sound the aircraft makes bother you? Is it the speed at which you are flying?
Identify your fear and analyze how irrational it is. Planes are a machine, and every machine makes a sound when it runs. Planes need to take off to be able to fly. Look at the positives – flying at such speeds gets you to your destination faster. The aircraft is just a mode of transport, much like the subway. Divert your attention, if you are afraid of height. Be rational.
Acquaint yourself with aircraft sounds
We fear the unknown; strange sounds that an aircraft makes can be quite unnerving to someone with a fear of flying. It sparks weird imagery of engine failure, plane crash etc.
Planes make sounds, just like a car does, maybe the sound is different, but that is because it is an aeroplane and not a car. It is good to be informed of what happens on a typical flight. You might want to watch some YouTube videos to allay fears. There are quite a few on sounds that are typically related to aircraft. Watching these videos can be a lesson on how normal the sounds you are afraid of, really are.
Also, know that aircraft have multifold safety measures in place. If something fails onboard a flight, the pilots have the option of applying other procedures. Aircraft go through a thorough inspection before each flight, to ensure that they are flight worthy, moreover, pilots are trained to tackle emergencies.
If you still remain unconvinced then it is best to invest in a pair of noise reduction headphones – those could solve your problem.
Check turbulence forecast
Aircrafts often hit air pockets, which is perfectly normal, but this can cause turbulence. At times the turbulence feels like a bumpy ride, at others, it becomes more severe. Yet, it is nothing to worry about.
Turbulence is a result of the aircraft flying through dense clouds or air currents. The experience can be quite unsettling and set in a mid-flight panic attack. However, if you know the reasons why a turbulence happens, you would be more prepared to handle the situation and stay calm.
Listen to the pilot’s reassuring voice as they announce that the aeroplane is going through turbulence. They have the aircraft under control. You are in good hands.
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Distraction works, and in this case, it can divert your mind from the present situation and help you ease your anxieties. Do something that you enjoy doing in the safe environs of your home. Read a book or a magazine, watch a movie or a television soap on the in-flight entertainment system or listen to your favorite music. When you are busy doing something that you enjoy, the likelihood of other influences upsetting you are remote.
Review your destination
It is said that the journey is more beautiful than the destination, but this might not be true in your case. Why not work to make that true for yourself? It is a mind game; your fears are in your mind; surely you can overcome those fears with a little bit of trickery.
Cheat your mind by concentrating on your destination. Visualize yourself frolicking in the warm waters of the Caribbean or lying on the sandy shores, basking in the sun, sipping a Mojito. The imagery changes your state of mind; it pumps good vibes into you and dispels your fears.
Alternatively, read a booklet or a tourist guidebook of your destination. Watch videos and photographs of the resort that you have booked. Doing so will initiate a feel-good response in you and you will not even notice that you are flying.
Avoid coffee and alcohol before and during the flight. Instead, drink water, sparkling water is fine and drinks a fruit juice if you may. Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate you and that can cause discomfort, which can subconsciously be associated with the effects of flying.
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