I want to do some traveling but never flown before due to my fear of heights. What do you suggest I do to get over those flying heebie jeebies? Any advice you can give me would be much appreciated. Thank you! ✈Vickie Niles, – Via Email
What a wonderful question. Just so you know, you are not alone “Fear of Flying” is one of the most common phobias. 1 of every 6 Americans has a flying phobia and avoids flying altogether.
The first thing to do is to pinpoint your fear. Is it that you fear crashing, or is it claustrophobia, being “trapped” in the airplane during a long flight. You might fear having an anxiety attack on the plane. Whatever it is, you can overcome it. The key to success is to understand why you have your fear and conquer it. Here are some tips that I hope will help you. I have a fear of heights and I use these tips in my journey as well.
1. Figure out your triggers.
Think about what frightens you and examine how your anxiety reaction is triggered. If you can identify your particular triggers, then you can manage your fear when anxiety levels are lower. Learning what sets you off makes it easier to turn it off.
2. Step onto the airplane with knowledge.
Anxiety thrives on not knowing, and feeds off “what if?” catastrophic thoughts. Once you become knowledgeable, your “what if?” thoughts are limited facts. Become familiar with the facts. For example, flying is actually a safer mode of transportation over driving. This will not eliminate your anxiety completely, but should help you manage it.
3. Anticipate your Fear Response.
Anticipatory anxiety is what we experience “before” the flight. It is often the most intense anxiety you will experience, but it is not an accurate predictor of how you will feel on the flight. It is frequently far greater than what you actually experience one the plane lifts off. If you tell yourself you are not in danger it will help. Remind yourself that feeling anxious doesn’t mean you are in danger. You are going to be safe even when feeling intense anxiety.
As a rule, do the opposite of what your anxious feelings are saying to do. Fight what the anxiety is telling you, but embrace the discomfort that anxiety brings.
6. Bump in the flight.
To manage anxiety when turbulence starts, learn about airplanes. They are designed to handle turbulence. Focus on managing yourself, rather than focusing on the turbulence. Remind yourself that you are safe.
7. Educate Others
Tell other fliers what frightens you, along with what helps you most to cope. Be clear about your triggers and others will help you in those times.
8. Keep Flying
Exposure is the best method in overcoming phobias. Every flight makes the next one easier. Retrain your brain to become less sensitized to the triggers that set you off.
I hope that helps you Vickie and whenever you get stressed out, just know that I am cheering for you and focus on the fact that you have done any amazing things and that you can do this too!