Travel & Food

What is the Fear of Flying? Causes and Treatment!

Aviophobia or aerophobia are terms used to describe a fear of flying. It is possible that the fear of flying arises from childhood or can develop as an adult due to several triggering factors. Researchers have found that air travel is the least likely form of transportation to cause death. By obtaining more information about airplane phobia, we may overcome this psychological disorder.

People who have a fear of flying are said to be aerophobic. Even thinking about the flight is stressful, and panic attacks coupled with a flying phobia can lead to dangerous situations. Psychologists can help people with flight-related fears, and people who are afraid of flying can gradually overcome those fears on their own.

Flight phobias also cause some people to avoid all air travel. It is challenging to travel to many places if you suffer from flight phobia. As a result, experts are developing different treatment options for flight phobia.

Fear of flying is a fear of being on an airplane, or other flying vehicle, such as a helicopter, while in flight. It is also referred to as flying anxietyflying phobiaflight phobiaaviophobiaaerophobia, or pteromerhanophobia (although the penultimate also means a fear of drafts or of fresh air).

Causes of the Fear of Flying

The flying problem has developed gradually for some people, without any apparent cause. There is no clear reason for people to grow more fearful over time. The fear of flying begins at an average age of 27, so perhaps it’s a matter of age. As we grow older, we tend to care more about our families. When we leave our children or a spouse behind when we fly, we may feel threatened or worried that they will be abandoned, that we will never see them again.

Such thoughts may increase our fear. Perhaps as we get older, we begin to better understand the fragility of life, so the older some people get, the more fearful they become. Consequently, they may feel uncomfortable about flying.

You might not be able to pinpoint a specific time when your flying anxiety started. Many people, however, can point to at least one of four different circumstances that caused their first flight difficulties. These include remembering a lousy flight, hearing scary stories about flying, taking a flight while feeling nervous or claustrophobic, or traveling during a stressful phase in their lives.

A previous flight was difficult for you?

Causes of the Fear of Flying
Photo by Hanson Lu on Unsplash

There is no actual danger involved for most people who become uncomfortable when flying. Nevertheless, they become frightened during flights, causing them to worry about upcoming flights.
What is frightening to you? Whatever your mind determines to be scary. In reality, you might not have a problem; your health and safety are not threatened. Although it may not have been dangerous, you will remember it as a scary experience.

As soon as you feel out of control, you will have fearful thoughts and tense your body. If it is traumatic enough, you will become “conditioned” to that experience. Thus, whenever you take a flight in the future, you will anticipate the possibility of turbulence again and become anxious just by thinking about it.
In other words, if you have memories of past flights in which you felt uncomfortable, and if you recall those memories easily, that may contribute to your current discomfort. This fear of flying method is very impressive.

You reacted to the stories you heard!

By listening to someone else’s problem, you can also develop discomfort. This is called “vicarious learning.” After hearing about someone else’s experience, you imagine yourself having the same experience. Vicarious fears develop after hearing about airplane accidents. If they had been on that particular plane, they might have imagined how it would have been.
When the mind rehearses a traumatic event, the body reacts almost as if it were happening in reality, and we feel anxiety. This situation can greatly increase your fear of flying.

You developed other problems that made flying uncomfortable for you!

The causes of discomfort with flying are heights, crowds, closed-in spaces (claustrophobia), panic attacks, and feeling trapped or out of control.
You may have experienced panic attacks in the past. It might have happened just before giving a speech or during a sales meeting. As time passed, the panic attacks began to occur elsewhere, like in a car or on the subway, in a restaurant or a grocery store, in a church, or in wide-open places.

To cope with panic attacks, many people must believe they can easily escape a scary situation, that they will not feel trapped or out of control.
Panic may occur whenever you face your fears. If you experienced discomfort on a recent flight, it wouldn’t be unusual for you to begin to worry about how you’ll cope on your next flight. The only way to guarantee your comfort is to stop flying altogether if you become worried enough.

It took several months for you to become uncomfortable due to stress.

After experiencing stress in your life, you might have had trouble flying for the first time. People who suffer from panic attacks are often affected by this. According to research, people tend to have their first panic attack after six to eight months of stress. Stress is often associated with loss, such as a death in the family, a long-term illness of someone close to you, moving, changing jobs, or divorce. Marriage or having a child can precede the first panic attack, even when they seem like gains.

Positive experiences include something that you gain, such as a spouse or a child, and something that you lose, such as your freedom, ability to control your time, and independence. When going through a stressful period, it’s as if your mind becomes more fragile and vulnerable.

A panic attack suddenly occurs out of nowhere. Eventually, you will begin to fear places or situations where you feel trapped or out of control if you continue to experience panic attacks. Since you cannot fly the plane and cannot get off whenever you want, airplanes fall into that category.

How to Overcome Your Fear of Flying?

Whatever the reason for your fear of flying, you can take steps to help ease it. You can’t let anyone else decide whether you should fly or not. Below are a few tips on how to defeat your fear of flying.

Things to know before your air trip

Be Prepared.
Knowing how an airplane works can go a long way toward reducing the anxiety of many fearful flyers. You might feel less worried about your aircraft malfunctioning if you understand how an aircraft can keep flying even if its engines fail.
Author and licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Margaret Wehrenberg suggests asking yourself: “What is the catastrophe? What am I expecting to happen? What am I so concerned about? … Before you board the plane, answer these questions.”

Select an aisle seat.
You can request a seat assignment when you book your flight with most airlines and booking agencies. If you have claustrophobia, request an aisle seat; you’ll feel less enclosed by other passengers and can move around the cabin more quickly. In addition, you can avoid looking out the window if those sky-high views make you nervous.

Be aware of what you’re consuming.
There’s no need to mention this, but you should avoid movies about plane crashes or news coverage of them. It’s important to remember that most flights arrive safely, but only those with problems are covered in the news. It would be best if you didn’t let that affect your flying opinion.

Think positively.
Before a trip, You can counteract your fear of flying by imagining yourself getting on a plane, hopefully going somewhere fun. Keep your focus on the positive – think about all the things you will do once you arrive at your destination.

Consult a professional
When should you contact a medical professional? According to Dr. Wehrenberg, if you’re losing sleep, feeling anxious, or avoiding travel for the sake of your own or others’ convenience, then a licensed therapist or counselor can help you identify the root causes of your fear and how you can overcome it.

Things to keep in mind at the airport!

Don’t hurry.
Before your flight departs, make sure you have plenty of time to get to the airport. Stressing about missing your flight by racing to the gate will increase your anxiety. Doing this method can decrease your fear of flying in a good way.

Take a break in an airport lounge before your flight.
Airport lounges of most airlines are quiet. Luxurious oases tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the airport. You can often buy a day pass for about $50, which may be a small price to pay for a serene place to prepare for your flight.

Things to keep in mind when boarding a plane.

Meet the Crew
Meet the pilot of your plane if you have time before your flight. Alternatively, you can talk to a flight attendant for a few minutes. Getting to know the people who hold your safety in their hands makes the plane seem friendlier, and you feel more confident that the crew is knowledgeable and competent.

Stay tuned
You can prepare yourself for a peaceful state of mind by downloading soothing music to your phone or tablet. Download stress-busting meditations or breathing instructions from an app like Headspace or Simple Habit so you can listen to them even when your phone is in airplane mode.

During stress, your breathing may become shallow, but deep and conscious breathing is a stress reliever. Count to five or ten while inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
Even though it may seem obvious, breathing is arguably the best way to overcome anxiety. According to Dr. Wehrenberg, controlled breathing works because “breathing is the one thing that stops panic attacks from happening.” You may feel less claustrophobic if you turn on the air vents above your head, lean back, and close your eyes. Other calming, meditative tricks include smelling a lavender sachet or sucking on a mint.

Watch or read something fun.
Bring a magazine, a good book, or a puzzle to distract yourself from what’s going on. Take advantage of the in-flight entertainment system to watch a comedy, or preload a few of your favorite movies onto your laptop. Do some activities that will keep you busy during your flight.

Take a drink
Nervous flyers often use alcohol to calm their nerves. Alcohol may be acceptable in moderation, but anti-anxiety medications should not be combined. Dehydration can also be caused by alcohol, especially in the arid environment of an airplane. Follow it up with plenty of water whenever you treat yourself to a cocktail.

What do you think? Do you also suffer from fear of flying? What solutions have you gained based on experience? Please share your comments with us.

OnlineMag24 Editorial Team

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