You’re flying 30,000 feet in the sky, rubbing shoulders with complete strangers and looking out at the clouds. There’s nothing natural about this.
While most people around you seem to be at ease, one person is laughing at anything that’s streaming on their phone, while another is flipping through a half-written novel.
Aerophobia is a type of anxiety disorder that involves having a fear of flying. This condition usually sets in when people are planning on flying.
Many people experience anxiety and nervous tension when they fly. But for some, this fear can be so overwhelming that they avoid flying altogether. This is called aerophobia, and it affects around 20 million Americans.
It is not clear how one causes Aerophobicity. However, it is believed that it can be inherited. It can also be triggered by the media that constantly reports about accidents involving planes.
The longer someone avoids flying, the more their fear of flying will increase. Other possible reasons why people avoid flying include fear of heights, nausea, and enclosed spaces.
- Aerophobia’s Physical Signs
- heart rate increased
- shivering hands sickness
- choking sensation due to shortness of breath
- Steps to Take Treatment Options
A person with Aerophobia usually takes anti-anxiety medications before and during a flight. Exposure therapy helps people overcome their fear by gradually exposing them to the flying sensations.
Getting cognitive behavioral therapy can help people test their irrational beliefs about flying. It can also help them feel better about their situation. Getting treatment for Aerophobicity is usually done by a mental health professional.
Being honest with oneself is the first step in addressing aerophobia. Being afraid of flying is very common, and many people avoid talking about it to avoid embarrassment. Having other people with the same fears can also help.
Learning about facts can also help people overcome their fear of flying. For instance, if you have a fear of flying turbulence, learning about the safety of planes and turbulence can help lower your anxiety.
It’s also important to set goals for yourself when it comes to overcoming aerophobia. For instance, imagine that you want to visit a certain place and time. Set a schedule for this trip.
If working with a professional is the only solution, then planning a target date for when you can finally fly is also important. It can help you establish positive emotions related to flying.
There are many resources out there that can help people overcome their fear of flying. Getting in touch with a mental health professional can also help you get started. Having a supportive environment can help you overcome your fear.
Being honest with yourself can also help people overcome their fear of flying. There are also various ways to get the help they need to manage their anxiety.
What Makes Us Afraid of Flying?
According to the NIMH, around 6.5 percent of Americans has aviophobia, which is a fear of flying.
According to Ora Nadrich, a life coach and certified mindfulness instructor, some of the primary reasons people are afraid to fly are fear of heights, crashing, and being out of control. Others are worried about flying due to the unknown, airport procedures, and crowded spaces.
Captive spaces and stressful news stories can also make people afraid of flying. These factors can trigger anxiety due to the possibility of experiencing a worst-case scenario.
According to Kevin Gilliland, a clinical psychologist, anxiety is triggered by irrational fears and worst-case scenarios. It can also make people feel sick, which could be caused by their thoughts.
How to Get Rid of Anxiety?
Getting on a plane can be challenging, especially if your anxiety is real. There are ways to break free from your fear and get on a flight with confidence.
Understand the Facts
Having read through safety statistics and learning about the risks of flying can help minimize your anxiety. For instance, according to eDreams, there’s a 1-in-11-million chance that an airplane accident will happen in the next decade.
Aside from being safe, airplanes are also subjected to various safety tests, which include extreme temperature and wing flexibility.
Having a basic understanding of flying can also help minimize anxiety. For Gilliland, being able to recite safety statistics and understand the sounds and movements of planes can help minimize the anxiety caused by flying.
Your Thoughts Should Be Released and Replaced
Even though it’s a 1-in-11-million chance, almost everyone on board survived an airplane crash. Gilliland also noted that being able to understand the basic movements and sounds of planes can help calm down those with anxiety.
To combat the thoughts that trigger anxiety, you also have to work on eliminating them. For Nadrich, this process is called releasing and replacing.
For people with anxiety, replacing their negative thought with a positive one can help break their negative perception. This practice will help break their negative thoughts and allow them to feel more positive.
To relieve anxiety, start by repeating the positive statements that you said before that moment.
You Should Distract Yourself
Even if it’s only an hour long, planning ahead can help minimize anxiety. Before boarding, make a list of the things that you want to accomplish while flying. Then, work on those items while flying.
For Nadrich, the best way to relieve anxiety is to imagine yourself in a place that’s peaceful and beautiful. This can be a faraway place that you would like to visit or a place that’s calming and comfortable.
Another stress-relieving technique that’s commonly used by people with anxiety is visualization. According to a study conducted by Dr. Elisha Goldstein, doing a guided meditation for five minutes a day can significantly reduce stress levels.
Concentrate on your breathing.
If you’re feeling anxious, try taking deep breaths and focusing on your breathing. Slower and more focused breathing can help lower your stress levels.
For people with anxiety, Nadrich suggested holding for two counts, then gently exhaling for four counts. This technique allows you to control both your body and mind.
According to a study conducted by the American Institute of Stress, deep breathing can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and increase the supply of oxygen to the brain.
Getting the hang of this technique can take a bit of practice. However, it can help you feel more calm and at peace while flying.
It’s important to practice and deliberate effort to give yourself more control over your flying experience.