Fear of flying and ways to get over it
August 21st, 2017
Filed under: Anxiety disorder, Mental Disorder, Mental Health by ATAC Team

Though traveling via airplanes has made the world much smaller by reducing time and effort, there are still many who dread being in a flight due to safety reasons. Despite establishing many milestones in the field of science and technology, flying is still seen as a risky affair by many. Such people harbor fears such as of crashing due to a technological hitch or unpredictable weather or getting hijacked by a group of terrorists. Another major factor that plays a pivotal role in spiking the fear of flying is the graphic portrayal of plane crashes and associated debris in media. As a result, aviophobia, or fear of flying, is common among people across the world.

With the rate of the crash being as low as one for every 3.1 million flights in 2015, a recent report released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) once again underlines the fact that fear of flying is more of an exaggerated fear or anxiety than anything else. Though safety is a common concern among air passengers, it is also true that no other form of transportation is as scrutinized, monitored and investigated as the commercial aviation.

The statistics prove that airline transportation is the safest mode of travel. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the risk of death was highest in motor accidents that accounted for 1 out of 7,700, with the risk of death in an airplane crash being 1 out of 2,067,000.

Practice experiential therapies and invigorate creative skills to overcome fear of flying

A considerable number of people are anxious about getting on a plane. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 6.5 percent of the U.S. population has a specific phobia (a subset of anxiety disorders) that may include flying among fears related to heights, spiders, etc. While some take pills or try distracting their minds by indulging in an interesting and creative activity, many fall prey to the phobia.

As in the case of all kinds of phobias, people with flight phobia may agree that flying is safe but are not able to reconcile their fear with the safety statistics.

The psychological and physiological symptoms of the phobia can affect a person’s life considerably. It may lead to impaired memory, narrowed perceptions, poor judgement, negative outlook, persistent negative thoughts, muscle tension or tremors, heavy or labored breathing, heart palpitations, chest pain, abdominal or intestinal discomfort, profuse sweating, weakness, dizziness, prickly sensations, dry mouth, flushed or pale face, etc.

Here we discuss some of the common ways to alleviate the fear of flying:

  • Many people experience anxiety because of a perceived lack of control over a stressful situation. To them, since someone else is flying the plane, and they have no idea about the technical aspects of the same, they feel clueless about the outcome over which they have no control. That is why they are willing to accept the risk of driving a car than flying in a plane. Therefore, they need to let go of what they can’t control.
  • Anxiety-reducing experiential therapies, such as yoga or meditation, need to be integrated into one’s everyday routine to overcome any kind of anxiety while boarding a plane.
  • When people are nervous, they often tend to stiffen their shoulders and as a result the neck and muscles around the region become stiff. It helps if one consciously tries to lower his or her shoulders and identify the muscle groups that have become stiff and try to relax them.
  • Imagination is a useful tool that one can use to distract oneself and make himself or herself feel comfortable and happy. In fact, guided imagery applications are also available for practice at home. Other ways by which one can distract oneself is by diverting his or her thoughts toward the exciting plans for the immediate future.
  • Mindful breathing also helps in alleviating anxiety. By practicing such techniques every day, one can guide his or her mind toward positive thinking.
  • Group therapy classes can play a vital role in providing knowledge pertaining to the nitty-gritties of flying that can help in sensitizing patients about flying and becoming more aware. This could go a long way in combatting unreasonable fear.
  • Some people would require the help of a professional therapist.

Recovery roadmap

People suffering from a phobia like fear of flying witness an altered state of consciousness. Besides anxiety and nervousness, other symptoms of phobias include sweating, numbness in the hands and feet, rapid heartbeats, etc. Moreover, they fill the minds of the people with the images of the unreal dangers. These factors can wreak havoc on the minds of people and worsen their anxiety disorders. Therefore, it is essential to spread awareness on the consequences of phobias to identify the problem and ensure early recovery.

If you or your loved one is struggling with any anxiety disorder, it is imperative to seek professional help. The Anxiety Treatment Advisors of Colorado offer a variety of evidence-based treatment plans. Call our 24/7 helpline 866-891-2539 to connect with the best anxiety disorders treatment centers in Colorado. Alternatively, you can also chat online with our representatives for accessing information pertaining to anxiety disorders treatment in Colorado.

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