To fly like a bird is a frequently quoted phrase in the flying profession and in the context of those who love to fly. To be among the clouds and travel speedily through the air from one destination to another is a great experience that many of us have faced at least once in our lifetime.
Today, air travel is no longer a luxury, but more of a necessity as one strives to reach one’s destination more quickly as compared to other means of transport. The latest technologies and developments have redefined how airplanes work today and ensure that passengers reach their spot safely in the minimum possible time. Nowadays, flying is easy, convenient, and affordable for many of us.
Unfortunately, there are many people who avoid air travel not because they cannot afford it, but because they are afraid to fly. About 30% to 40% of people experience certain anxiety when they need to board a flight.
However, it is not always possible to take alternate means of travel when you need to go through long distances. Therefore, it’s important to know how to overcome fear of flying. The reason for this fear or phobia, which is also known as aviophobia, is psychological. It could be an unpleasant experience, watching a plane crash or feeling claustrophobic in tight places.
In this blog, we are discussing the reasons behind aviophobia, its symptoms, effects, and how to get over a fear of flying gradually. This might help you enjoy the wonderful experience of flying to your dream destination.
What is flight phobia or aviophobia?
Simply put, aviophobia is the fear of flying among people. As per statistics, approximately 40% of human beings have a little phobia or fear of flying, while 2.5% are said to have a clinical phobia. Though some people generally experience anxiety when they need to board a flight, an actual phobia takes place only when the fear is more profound and long-lasting, and it is considered aviophobia. In extreme cases, it might require medical assistance.
Some probable causes are discussed below
- Having experienced or watched a plane crash: People who have had an awful experience on a plane or have lost someone close in a plane crash or have seen one are more prone to anxiety attacks before flying or during the flight. Memories related to the plane crash or any unfortunate incident in the family develop an internal fear related to flying.
- Watching media coverage related to an air crash: Excessive watching of such traumatic events on television or the internet can also lead to this phobia.
- Being influenced by others: Hearing traumatic experiences about plane crashes and accidents in the United States or elsewhere can also lead to a fear of flying among people, especially if they have heard about those incidents during their childhood.
Parents, neighbors, friends, and close relatives could be the probable sources through whom they might have heard about the plane crash incidents, leading them to develop a fear of air travel and flying.
What are the symptoms of aviophobia?
Many people in the United States have aviophobia. They suffer from anxiety disorders related to air travel and may display the following symptoms.
- Shortness of breath
- A higher heart rate
- Disorientation among their surroundings
- Stomach upset
- Excessive sweating
Panic attack: How to overcome the fear of flying?
Treating anxiety in fearful flyers may take quite a few months to make a person feel confident about flying. Identifying the problem and knowing how to get over the fear of flying is the first step to manage anxiety and be confident about flying.
For people who want to know more about how to overcome the fear of flying, here is some expert advice
- Identify the trigger points:
Knowing and identifying the exact moment or action that triggers the anxiousness about flying can help one better prepare and prevent an anxiety attack. It could be the moment when a plane takes off, lands, or faces turbulence in the air due to air pockets. Figuring that reason out would definitely help fight it well!
- Keep your mind positive: Surrounding oneself with positive people and thoughts is a good way to reduce negative thoughts about flying. Unnecessary discussions and negative vibes can play the role of a spoilsport in the process. One may also listen to one’s favorite music or watch a favorite movie to relax the mind.
- Read about advancements in flying technologies: Read books and watch videos on how the process of flying works and how it has evolved over the years to become safer and more comfortable for everyone. This will help reduce anxiety attacks that may occur due to negative thoughts or lack of adequate knowledge about flying.
- Be more knowledgeable: Reading books or articles on topics, such as “How to overcome the fear of flying” which are available free online, will help you be better informed about the probable reasons for your anxiety and aviophobia. This will help you overcome them and be prepared to face any anxiety attacks that occur while you are preparing to fly or in motion.
Some primary treatments to overcome the fear of flying
Apart from mental exercises and breathing exercises to keep your mind occupied with positive vibes, you may need to go in for licensed clinical therapies or even take medicines to reduce your anxiety or fear of flying. Surely, this will improve your mental health. Based on the extent of your fear and medical conditions, your health experts may prescribe the following treatments.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This form of treatment is used by clinical psychologists to treat different types of phobias. It basically works towards reducing any negative thoughts that may contribute to the phobia.
- Exposure and desensitization towards flying: By exposing people suffering from the fear of flying to virtual reality situations associated with flying in a controlled environment, therapists slowly help them overcome their fears.
- Medications: Some health experts may also suggest anti-anxiety medication as a part of their anxiety management techniques or to reduce nausea and motion sickness to help you relax and feel better during flying.
While the question, how to get over the fear of flying may cause you many sleepless nights, you need to be positive and seek professional consultation and advice for it to be treated to your satisfaction. This will also help you start flying and be at ease.
Enjoy the good times once you start flying again
Over a period of time, through proper treatments and guidance, you may alleviate your fear of flying and feel confident to fly again. When you start doing so, make sure you take all the steps necessary to enjoy the experience and be comfortable during it. It also means that you will no longer be asking yourself the question “How to overcome my fear of flying”!
To avoid any feelings of claustrophobia or social anxieties again, try to book your air tickets on wider body aircraft rather than small ones. Stay relaxed and make friends with the flight attendants, so that you feel more confident and comfortable about your flying experience.
Give yourself sufficient time to overcome your fear of flying
Aviophobia is pretty much treatable, as long as you give yourself sufficient time to understand the process of flying and how safe an airplane actually is, as compared to other means of transport. The support of your family and friends is inevitable during your aviophobia days. Therefore, make sure you thank them for their support in helping you overcome your fear of flying!