Per mile travelled, an aeroplane is just about the safest possible way to travel
As one statistician put it, if you were to fly once a day, it would take an average of fifty-five thousand years for you to be involved in a fatal crash. If you fly much less often than once a day, as most of us do, then the odds lengthen to the point that it’s not worth worrying about.
And yet, for some, the problem isn’t so easily rationalised away. There’s just something about getting into a small vehicle and being propelled into the clouds that is just inherently unnerving. For some, the fear is so extreme that it has its own name: aerophobia. Even if you’re not quite severe enough to be placed in this 5% of passengers, anxiety can be a real problem. So, what can we do to deal with it?
How to overcome flight anxiety so you can take the trip of a lifetime
Let’s run through a few anxiety-busting techniques.
Look at root causes
If you understand the root cause of your fear of flying, then you might be better able to address it. Is it the lack of control? Is it the confined space? Maybe the sense of insignificance that comes with seeing the Earth laid out beyond the window?
In some cases, therapy can be enormously helpful in seeking out the cause of the anxiety. But even if you’re not going that far, you might still look into the root cause of the problem.
For some, the turbulence is a big driver of anxiety. When the aircraft comes into contact with air that’s moving violently in several different directions, it will naturally begin to wobble. This is a design choice, for the most part; aircraft that flex and move around are able to cope with storms better than those that don’t.
In some cases, the drivers of your anxiety can be physiological. You might be feeling dehydrated, which can drive up your headaches, and your anxiety. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine, which act as diuretics, can help to tackle these issues.
Keep the attendants informed
If you have anxiety, then you might let a flight attendant know in advance. They’ve flown hundreds, or perhaps even thousands of times, and should have a strong idea of what helps. If nothing else, it can be reassuring to have them check in on you every so often. If you have the budget for private jet hire, then you might benefit from more of the attendees’ attention.
Visualise your destination
Another technique involves forming a picture of your destination, so that you can persuade yourself that the stress will be worthwhile in the end. You might even take a few actual pictures of your destination so that you can give yourself a reminder.
Learn to breathe
Finally, we should mention the role that breathing techniques can play. Try to practice these at home, before the flight, whenever you feel anxiety flaring up. The more you practice, the more effective the techniques will be.
Aiden is an editorial and production intern at Title Media whilst also studying for their English master’s degree. He’s constantly looking for opportunities to have fun and get creative, whether it be art, baking, storytelling… you name it!
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