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Fear of Flying?

Aerophobia is an extreme fear of flying. It is a condition that many people experience when wanting to travel in an airplane. Even though flying is widely regarded as the safest mode of long-distance travel, it is estimated that 1 in 6 people have a fear of flying. Flying phobia is essentially a fear of the unknown. The fear of what might happen, even if the chances of it happening are extremely small.

The statistics are interesting! A plane crash has a 1-in-11-million probability of occurring, yet even then, 96 percent of passengers survive. So why do so many people suffer from a fear of flying?

Commercial aviation is the only kind of transportation that is investigated, studied, and supervised to an unprecedented degree. This is a continual process as the major airlines want people to feel safe and secure in their aircraft.

What factors can contribute to aerophobia?

There are a number of triggers that people identify with causing acrophobia. These include unusual noises in the cabin, the fear of heights during take-off, panic episodes thinking about the need for oxygen, claustrophobia, and a sense of being out of control are all symptoms. Even the freak chance of an act of terrorism can just trigger a reaction!

The most common trigger is generally turbulence. While passengers are most concerned about turbulence, planes are now designed in such a way that turbulence cannot cause a plane to crash.

Some of the symptoms people experience when having a panic attack are:

  • Nausea
  • Choking sensations
  • Brain Fog
  • Chills
  • Disorientation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Stomach upset

Tips for overcoming a fear of flying.

The key to relieve the anxiety that flying causes is to try to be distracted. Train the mind to focus on something unrelated to where you are, what you are doing and your immediate surroundings. If you can be totally absorbed in something else when seated before take-off the better your anxiety levels will stay calm.

Try listening to your favourite music using some headphones with noise cancellation.
Play a computer game on your device or phone.
If you don’t want to do that then relax with a pillow and sleeping mask over your eyes, and train your mind on happy positive thoughts.
Also. when it comes to flying, where you sit is important. You can prebook your seat when online and an aisle seat may be a better option than being sat between two people or next to the window.

It has been suggested to start small. Instead of a long-haul flight initially, try a short flight duration of maybe an hour. Then gradually build up to longer flights. As you fly more you will learn what works and what does not work for you. Learn from each flight. Take note of triggers and try to avoid falling into the same mental trap again.

You can be assured that once you get familiar with flying the whole world will seem to be suddenly reachable and you will enjoy the thrills of international travel.

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