Many people are afraid to fly, A phenomenon that appears in situations where it is necessary to board an aircraft, even if it is to undertake a very short trip. Although this form of transportation is one of the safest, the irrational fear in this context causes them suffering for reasons that are difficult for them to explain in detail.
In this article we will focus on various tips to overcome the fear of flyingKeeping in mind that this is a process that takes time and effort and in some cases this fear will not go away completely. But first, let’s clarify some concepts.
Is it always some kind of phobia on airplanes?
Keep in mind that the fear of flying it is not exactly the same as the phobia of flight or aerophobia. The first concept is broader because phobias are mental disorders (specifically, anxiety disorders) and there are several diagnostic criteria to determine if they are present in a person.
Specifically, the idea that in order for us to speak of a phobia to fly, the fear must be so intense and crippling that it significantly harms the locality of a person’s life; for example, actively avoiding taking airplanes even need to take one of these vehicles.
Although the data available is not very precise, it is estimated that about 13% of the population in Western societies has this condition, and about 5% suffer from a fear of flying so intense that they can consider aerophobia.
Thus, the fear of flying is a phenomenon that can occur at different levels of severity, and aerophobia occupies its most intense extreme. However, this difference between the fear of flying “lightly” and aerophobia, in which the person can lose complete control and attempt to get off the plane urgently, can be understood as something qualitative, not just quantitative. . Specifically, there are those who will not be able to overcome this fear of airplane flights. unless you are seeing a mental health professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.
What we will see below is a series of tips that can help people not be afraid of flying to the extreme and therefore they can effectively engage in measures to overcome this fear on their own, while having recourse to psychological help will always be helpful. and will facilitate the process.
How to overcome the fear of flying
Follow these steps to maximize your chances of reducing or eliminating the fear of flying.
1. Find out the basics of what happens during the flight
Have basic knowledge of the operation of an airplane and how to fly serves two basic purposes that help overcome the kind of fear we’re talking about.
On the one hand, it makes people believe that the plane can fall at any time, reinforced by an intuitive knowledge of how physics works (from our early childhood we learn that it is normal for objects that are not supported by anything to fall ground) is counterbalanced by slightly more reasoned beliefs about the safety of these vehicles.
On the other hand, it helps to avoid surprises. Even though we believe we know more or less how an airplane works, if we detect something that could mean that an accident is going to happen, such as shocks caused by turbulence, we can rule out this belief in vehicle safety when we consider that we are in an exceptional case where there is a very specific danger. Thus, if we know that in flight it is normal for fairly strong shocks to occur, or that it is common to hear strange sounds produced by internal machines from the plane, it is more difficult for this to happen to us.
However, this step is not sufficient in itself to eliminate the fear of flying, because as an emotional phenomenon that is, cognitive processes based on rational arguments have very limited power compared to the influence of fear. After all, this emotion makes sense because it allowed us to increase our chances of survival by making us more likely to run away just in case than to stop and wonder if there really is a reason to be careful. . For that, it is necessary to intervene on the emotions.
2. Prepare self-instructions
There is a good chance that in order to overcome the fear of flying you will have to go through some uncomfortable, even unpleasant times. After all, you have to expose yourself to the source of this fear to lessen its influence on you. Therefore, it is important to prepare self-instructions: a detailed description of how you should manage your care when you feel fear hanging over you.
For example, when you experience turbulence, you can mentally rehearse the “roller coaster” in a set of three, then perform a few seconds of breathing techniques, then move on to concept repetition again. This way, you will focus your attention on a series of simple steps that will help you not to become obsessed with fears.
3. Take an object on which to discharge the voltage
You are likely going to experience anxiety, so it is good to channel its physiological effects into a specific object, which will allow you to see that this facet of symptoms is under control and it won’t make you lose control. For example, shredding a rubber ball can work.
4. Use methods of visualization in the imagination
It is good that before you get on the plane you close your eyes and imagine what is going to fly in you. The goal is to expose you to a situation similar to that of the theft itself (rule out the possibility of catastrophes, adapt to what is happening statistically: thefts without incidents), have the opportunity to familiarize yourself with this type of environment in a controlled environment.
5. If you can, get on the plane and find it in good condition.
You have to do your best to get on the plane being the best you can be, which means having slept well the night before and having eaten well. If not, intrusive thoughts will be more likely to appear worrying because you will feel more vulnerable than usual.
- Curtis, GC, Magee, WJ, Eaton, WW, Wittchen, HU and Kessler, RC (1998). Specific fears and phobias: epidemiology and classification. British Journal of Psychiatry, 173, 212-217.