Overcoming the fear of flying

For tens of millions of people flying is nothing more than an inconvenience that has to be suffered in order to reach a destination in a reasonable amount of time. A weekend in Barcelona is not practical when spending three days driving in each direction, so very often flying is the only alternative.

For many other people however, flying holds a morbid and strangling fear, for the most part it should be considered to be a truly irrational fear, not that this truth is much help to those unable to board an aircraft, or who are just too uncomfortable when flying to make it an acceptable way to travel.

There are many ways of approaching the fear of flying in order to help reduce the unpleasant sensations if not remove them nearly completely. One of the very strange things about this phobia when compared to others, is that it is considered to be almost unique in that some people develop a fear of flying even after being comfortable on many previous flights, the same is not generally true of other phobias such as the fear of spiders, where continued exposure to spiders generally reduces the level of fear.

One of the first considerations when trying to overcome a fear of flying is to get the facts straight in your own mind. One of these facts is that it is statistically many times more dangerous to drive to and from the airport than it is to fly, hundreds of times more people are killed making these journeys than they are flying, but those with the fear of flying would not hesitate to jump in the car to make a trip.

Many people’s fear of flying comes from the reality of several hundred people dying at once in some very much over-publicised crash. News organisations do not bother to make their lead story on the evening news about somebody dying in an unspectacular car crash. It is this emphasis on the spectacular nature of their disasters that prompts many to become afraid of flying, even if they are well accustomed to the experience.

Many airlines offer cheap all-inclusive therapy sessions which include lessons about aircraft safety, methods of relaxation and a well organised short flight with highly trained staff on hand to assist people in getting over the flying phobia.

All kinds of relaxation techniques can be helpful, one simple technique during flight is to take long deep breaths, this physically relaxes the muscles as well as slowing the heart rate, and this in turn leads to a more relaxed state.

Modern aircraft are well equipped with distractions to take your mind off the flight, one of these is to simply put on your headphones close your eyes and listen to some relaxing music. Or try to become engrossed in a movie of your choice rather than thinking about the flight.

It is certainly not a good idea to try to relax by drinking alcohol; alcohol is a depressant that ultimately will cause more stress rather than less. Alternatively under doctor’s supervision the use of mild tranquillisers such as Valium may prove effective.

Other solutions include hypnotherapy which has proved extremely effective for large of passengers, whatever method of therapy that you select it is always better to tackle the fear head-on rather than suffer missing out on the good times that a brief flight can lead to.