Fear of flying is one of the biggest fears in the UK impacting thousands every year. A third of Brits are more afraid of flying than 10 years ago despite huge increases in plane safety. Most state that their biggest fear is engine failure, terrorism, and crash landing.
The Anxiety and Depression Association says that flight anxiety involves several separate fears including claustrophobia and worry. The fear often comes from feeling out of control.
Physical Symptoms can include; shortness of breath, stomach pains, headaches, chest tightness, and sweating.
Psychological symptoms can include; loss of appetite, irregular sleeping, anger, outburst, isolating and withdrawal.
Below are 7 steps to help anxious travelers manage their fear:
Know Your Triggers:
Discovering what triggers your fear is important when combating flight anxiety. A person may be afraid of turbulence, another may panic during take-off and landing, while another may be concerned with germs. The common denominator when it comes to fear of flying is becoming overwhelmed and suffering a panic attack during the flight with no means of escaping the situation. It helps to know and recognize trigger points.
Be Aware of the Forecast:
Turbulence is a typical and unavoidable part of many flights. It occurs when the plane encounters specific weather conditions such as clouds and air currents. The idea of a plane shaking in the air can be very unnerving so knowing what the air patterns are going to be during your flight can help you feel prepared. The more you know before boarding the plane the fewer chances anxiety and panic will set in and the more you can relax and enjoy the flight.
Many airlines provide entertainment in the form of television and magazines to help distract you during the flight. If you bring items with you that you associate with comforts such as a blanket and your favourite book you will feel more relaxed. Bringing items that you know you can immerse yourself with, will also help pass the time and distract you from what is going on about the plane. It may be worth speaking to your doctor about medication. Mindfulness and relaxation tracks have been proven to help nervous flyers.
Talk about your travel plans:
If you are travelling with friends or family informing them of what makes you anxious, so they can help you lessen the worry. Alternatively, consult a specialist such as a personal coach or hypnotherapist. Massage can help relax you before a flight.
Relax before the flight:
Try to relax as much as possible before your flight. Deep breathing, yoga, mindfulness, and mediation have proven relaxing. If you have a self-hypnosis track, play this before boarding.