I was delighted to receive a postcard from a lady I helped with a fear of flying some months ago –
“Thanks for the excellent treatment – I’m now making up for lost time! New Zealand & Fiji were fabulous. Canada & USA – New England in fall is so beautiful”.
Aerophobia, or fear of flying, is a problem that affects large numbers of people, some of whom are able to fly but will feel quite anxious, and others who are simply unable to go on aeroplanes. Recent estimates suggest that between 10-40% of all travellers experience some kind of phobia. For many sufferers this is inconvenient or embarrassing. They may rely on alcohol or medication to get through, what is for them, a very uncomfortable experience. For others it is a major issue because their Aerophobia prevents both them and their families from going on holidays together.
If you’re a sufferer, it’s important to realise that you weren’t born a nervous flyer – you learned to feel that way. Fear of flying, like all phobias, is a just learned response. You can un-learn your response just as easily as you learned it.
Think about the day you fly before it happens — pre-book seats and order any special meals you might require, including any children’s meals. If you have any disabilities, contact the airline in advance of your trip to discuss special requirements, such as wheelchairs or assistance on and off the plane. If you have to travel a long distance by air, try to avoid connecting flights. A little extra money spent on a direct flight is worth the expense, if it means no added anxiety about possible delays or missed connections.
Know where you are going
If you have never travelled to your airport before, allow plenty of time to get there. If you are unfamiliar with the airport layout, or are a first time traveller, try a practice run prior to your day of travel.
Allow plenty of time
Arrive in plenty of time for your flight and always allow for delays when you travel. Carry a book in your hand luggage. If you feel anxious, take a portable CD or cassette with calming music to listen to while you are waiting. Never find yourself stranded at the airport with nothing to do, and at all costs try to avoid the bar! Alcohol will not get rid of fear and often makes it worse. It will also leave you dehydrated.
There are also things you can actively do once the plane is off the ground:
During the flight
Take plenty to do on your journey and do not forget to get up and exercise on those long flights. This all helps to keep your mind from wandering to places you don’t want it to.
Tense Your Muscles.
Be aware of your body. When you feel muscles that are tense or tight, you can relax them. Instead of fighting the tightness, show your muscles whose boss! You tense your muscles! You take control! Go ahead and tighten your stomach muscles or your leg muscles. Then pause and let go. You will be surprised at how your muscles feel warm and relaxed, and you once again feel in control.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that the captain and crew are normal, responsible and experienced professionals, most with partners and families just like you. They are just as interested and have as many reasons for getting there safely as you do!
Tel: 08444 125 812