Just before the plane taxis for takeoff, it hits you: complete panic. But don’t worry, you’re not alone! We’ve put together a list of the very best tips to help you get your fear of flying under control.
1. Take a look at the statistics
Reading through a few statistics on air travel can help combat your rising nervousness: For every 2.5 million flights, just one single airplane crashes. Just one! That means that from 2.5 million flights, you’d have to catch that one single exact flight. When you look at the actual facts, air travel – measured by the number of kilometers traveled – continues to be the most secure method of travel.
2. Relax before takeoff
Comfortable clothing, a reserved seat, timely arrival at the airport: try to make your travel day as relaxed as possible. If you tend to be claustrophobic, it’s best to book an aisle seat, which will allow you to stand up and move around anytime without disturbing your fellow passengers. Enjoy a sweet treat at the airport or listen to an album from your favorite band. Going through the motions of your normal activities will signal to your body that everything is ok.
3. Leave your fear behind
It’s ok to have a few uneasy feelings – but if you’re having irrational thoughts of plane crashes, you should try to break through them. It’s often the fear of loss of control that causes people stress. Get used to the idea that you’re going to have to give up control of the airplane. But when it comes to your fear, you are absolutely in the captain’s seat. Don’t try too hard to control your fear, just don’t let your fear control you!
4. Relaxation exercises
There are plenty of relaxation exercises that can help when the first signs of nervousness appear. Pay attention to your breathing and try to breathe out twice as long as you breathe in. With every exhalation, try to release all of your negative thoughts. Autogenous training or exercises that train you to consciously tighten and release specific muscle groups can be particularly helpful.
5. Enlist the help of others
Sharing your troubles with someone else can help. If you’re not lucky enough to be traveling with a trusted companion, seek out someone from the flight crew to help you with your nerves. Airline personnel deal with individuals with a fear of flying on a daily basis, and you’ll be surprised how quickly they can help calm you down.
6. Accept turbulence
Many uneasy fliers experience a jolt to the nerves when the flight runs into turbulent air. But whether you like it or not, turbulence is just a usual, everyday part of air travel, and it’s completely normal. Your goal should be to accept turbulence as a part of the flying experience and not to let the shaking send you into a panic. Try not to tense up waiting for the first sign of turbulence – it will almost certainly show up with or without you!
7. Seminars, books, etc: information, information, information
It’s usually a lack of knowledge that’s at the root of your nerves: what are those weird noises? What happens when an engine fails? And how dangerous is bad weather? If you have the answers to these questions, your time aboard the flight will be much more peaceful. Gaps in your knowledge can be closed in many ways, for example with books: there are countless self-help books that can help you overcome your fear of flying. If you can’t manage your fear on your own, a guided seminar could be the solution. Workshops are offered in many cities, usually in small groups and lead by an experienced psychologist. The most comprehensive fear of flight seminars culminate with a shared flight. After a workshop like that, your fear of flying will almost certainly be a thing of the past.