Eight Tips To Overcome A Fear Of Flying

Eight Tips To Overcome A Fear Of Flying

While taking a holiday is supposed to be a relaxing way of relieving stress and taking some time off, for many a fear of flying mean this is easier said than done. Here are a few ways to relieve anxieties relating to travelling on a plane, including courses run by airlines and sipping a brandy on the rocks.

Eight Practical, Proven Steps to Conquer Your Fear of Air

1. Educate yourself

Anxiety often stems from a lack of understanding or knowledge.
Nervous flyers often hear a noise or feel a sensation and, not
knowing what it means, assume the worst. Learn about how planes
work in order to understand exactly how the aircraft moves and
functions. Your irrational or fearful thoughts will thus be limited
by what you know to be real, compared with catastrophic thinking.
Read up on how planes stay in the air, what causes turbulence and
what noises mean what for simple ways to alleviate panic while in
the air.

2. Breathe

High levels of stress and anxiety often result in shallow
breathing. Panic attacks are often caused by a lack of oxygen, so
it is important to remember to take slow, deep breaths. This
increases the supply of oxygen to your brain, stimulating the
parasympathetic nervous system and promoting rational, calm
thinking. Similarly, a stressed mind can often lead to tense
muscles, even after the panic has subsided. This sense of
uncomfortability increases stress, so be sure to do some stretching
or deliberate muscle relaxing as and when space allows during the

3. Talk to the cabin crew

If you feel comfortable talking to other people about your
worries, it’s a good idea to explain to the cabin crew how you’re
feeling. Vocalising your thoughts can help rationalise them, and
talking to those in charge of the flight can make you feel safe in
the knowledge that other people will be looking out for you.

4. Pre-empt your fears

If you can identity what causes your fear of flying, you can
make small pre-emptive changes to tackle anxiety. If you are
claustrophobic, book an aisle seat to give yourself room and ease
when moving around (and avoid the scary window views). If you
struggle breathing, make sure you keep the airflow on above your
head to have a reassuring breeze.

5. Don’t rush

Allow yourself time to calmly get through security and bag
checks before the flight. Rushing through the airport increases
stress and means you board the plane in a tense state, likening the
possibility for more stress throughout the flight. Arrive earlier
than advised to cater for long queues and other unforeseen

6. Distract yourself

Make sure you have plenty of distractions that will last you the
duration of the flight. Download music playlists and albums, good
books and movies to remove the focus on your surroundings. Relaxing
music and educational podcasts can be good to soothe nerves, and be
sure to avoid any scary films that could heighten stress levels
(particularly those about machine malfunctions or airplane

7. Have a drink

Having a wee tipple on a flight can do wonders for the nerves.
Alcohol is a sedative and a depressant, which (in moderation) can
help calm the central nervous system. Similarly, other forms of
sedatives can help. If your flight anxiety is severely
debilitating, talk to your doctor about medication that can help,
or try self-help methods such as Rescue
, CBD oil or melatonin tablets. Remember to ask your
doctor before taking any medication, be careful when combining
drugs and make sure you remain well hydrated when drinking

8. Seek professional help

In certain cases, self-help can only do so much. Book an
appointment with your GP to discuss further options, or try
therapies such as hypnosis and CBT. This can help reveal the root
of your fears and work towards overcoming them. Alternatively,
there are several courses and online programmes that are useful,
such as British Airways’ Fear of Flying course or British
hypnotist Paul McKenna’s book Total Flying Confidence.

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