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Five Ways to Overcome Fear of Flying

A paralyzing anxiety about soaring thousands of feet above the ground in a plane has many people struggling to overcome fear of flying. Some would rather spend a week sweating in a train or bus than spend 3- 4 hours on a plane, martini glass in hand and a good movie on the screen before them.

The irrational fear of flying is called aviophobia. Many people fly despite their anxiety because they’ve either overcome it or learned to manage it. A lot of it involves mind control and talking yourself down. Here are a few things you can do.

Education: Think about how many car accidents there are compared with how many airplane mishaps there are. You have a 29 times greater chance of being wiped out in your taxi on the way to the airport. Think about the very low probability of the plane actually falling out of the sky and use your intelligence to speak to your fear.

Desensitization: This technique is all about exposure to your fear and relaxing your way through it. Sort of like how kids are exposed to violence on television so much that it doesn’t seem to impact them negatively anymore. Several weeks before your anticipated flight, take time every day to relax in a chair or lie on your bed. Close your eyes and imagine yourself walking onto the plane, taking off and cruising at 30, 000 feet. Feel the fear and describe it out loud. Then practice deep breathing and self-calming. It won’t happen over night, so give yourself time.

Hypnosis: You are getting sleepy! You are losing your fear of flying! Purchase a hypnosis CDs and listen to it twice a day. You can even download a hypnosis mp3 onto your iPod and listen to it over and over. It will decondition you to your own anxiety. Hypnosis has been proven helpful in combating many fears, including the fear of heights and being trapped, factors which add to and amplify aviophobia.

Support: Link up with others who suffer from sweaty palms and heart palpitations at the mere mention of the word “flying”. Support groups will help give a voice to your fears. If you’re unsuccessful in fighting this fear on your own, consult a therapist who specializes in phobias and anxiety.

Medication: No messing around for you! Just knock me out and wake me up when we land. Consult your doctor about a one-dose-only-when-required type of medication to calm your anxiety and overcome fear of flying. Of course, this needs to be discussed with your physician to learn when you’ll be able to drive after taking the medication.

Know that the fear and anxiety is something that can be transcended and it isn’t an ultimate block.

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2 Comments so far

  1. Vincent on September 5th, 2009

    I haven’t tried hypnosis for fear of flying but I bet it would work because it helped my sister for public speaking anxiety. Since 9/11 I think a lot of people have more fear of flying due to hijacking.

  2. Kelly on September 7th, 2009

    I have a fear of flying and take a benadryl so I can sleep on plane. The problem is that I’m pretty tired the rest of day from it. But I just worry so much about plane crashes and fires I have to do something.

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