To some, the fear of flying is quite real and results in them missing out on
some great personal and professional opportunities. Alternatively, they end up
going on flights having to grin and bear it, during what to them is an
incredibly uncomfortable and stressful experience.
Are you like the A-Team's BA Baracus when it comes to flying?
Well, the fear of flying is quite an irrational one - you've statistically
got more chance of being killed crossing the street! A fear may have developed
from a bad experience - for example having been on a rough flight, or seeing a
news report of a plane hijacking or crash.
To some, the fear of flying may be an uncomfortable feeling that they're
able to hide, whereas others may be more vocal about it or even show signs of
stress such as sweating and trembling - or even be so terrified that they stay
completely grounded all the time.
So how can you overcome this? The realbuzz.com's team's top tips below aim
to take some of the fear factor out of flying.
Being well-prepared for your flight can help to reduce the onset of your
fear of flying. By making a checklist of all the important things that you need
to take and then packing well in advance, you can avoid rushing unnecessarily -
which will help to minimise your anxieties before the flight.
Get to the airport early
Setting off early will also prevent any unnecessary stress. Aim to get to
the airport more than two hours before your flight, so that you won't stress
out too much if an unexpected delay comes up on your way to the airport.
Arriving early will also give you time to find out exactly when and where to
check in before your flight, and allow you to relax by visiting the airport
shops or cafe.
Eat well before the flight
Before a long flight, ensure you have a decent meal. Your level of blood
sugar can drop over the course of a long flight - especially at times of
anxiety or stress, when your body will burn off more blood sugar than when
you're in a relaxed state. Also, don't drink too much, as the atmosphere in the
cabin is pressurised so the alcohol will affect you more than usual and could
exaggerate your fears.
Learn to relax
Trying to relax on a flight will help to reduce your levels of stress. Try
some deep breathing exercises and wear loose-fitting clothing. You could even
consider taking an inflatable pillow with you for added comfort. Giving
yourself some distractions will also help - so take some headphones, which will
help to block out aircraft noises and allow your mind to wander, or try talking
to other people around you.
Think positive thoughts
Think about your reason for travelling, so that you keep in mind the
worthwhile goal at the end of your flight. Also, keep in mind that flying is
around 10 times safer than climbing up the stairs at home and 21 times safer
than driving - plus it's estimated that you would have to take a flight every
day for 30,000 years before you are likely to be in a fatal air crash! Remember
these figures during your flight and you will feel a lot safer and more relaxed.
The threat of terrorism is quite real in modern times, but it's not
necessarily any worse than it was in the past. In fact, more stringent airport
security checks nowadays mean that flying is probably much safer than it used
to be. Acts of terrorism have taken place on trains and buses too - but the
likelihood of it happening to you is still very slim.
Face up to your fear of flying
The fear of flying will not easily go away by itself, but recognising that
you have a problem can cause your fear to diminish. If you expect to be scared
or have feelings of anxiety or awkwardness, you’ll be better able to handle
them and not let them overcome you. Remember that other people may also have
some anxieties about flying, even if they appear confident and relaxed – so you
won’t be alone.
Tell the cabin crew if you suffer badly from a fear of flying. They can
offer reassurance and explain to you at times about strange sounds during the
flights, such as those caused by turbulence, the engines being slowed, or the
wheels being lowered. This can be a great help for putting your mind at ease,
as it will remind you that everything is under control.
Minimise the risk of an attack
If you're someone who obsesses about the whole 'fear of flying' thing, then
you might want to put your own mind at rest by minimising the potential risks
of flying. For example, you could opt for only non-stop flights to reduce the
risks of accidents during take-off or landing. Or you might want to opt for a
seat near an emergency exit during the flight if this makes you feel any
better. If that's not possible, just be aware of the locations of the emergency
exits and listen to the pre-flight instructions.