5 Practical Tips to Overcome Fear of Flying

Is the fear of flying an irrational phobia or a natural response to the world we live in today? When your hands shake as you buckle your seat belt, your stomach lurches at take-off, and you feel the need for a strong drink, what's really going on psychologically? 

This guide attempts to dissect the various causes and triggers for the fear of flying, which can be more complex than you realize.

While most people are aware that flight accidents and fatalities are extremely rare, there is something about being in an airplane or helicopter that produces a negative response in certain people. Whether it is linked to childhood or to other environmental factors that flying may present, the inability to feel safe in the air can lead to some real inconveniences and limitations.

I've never been in long-haul flights but I have flown countless times (max of 1 hr & 30 minutes per flight). For the most part, I can say I'm already comfortable with the idea of flying but in all honesty, there are really moments when anxiety kicks in.. thankfully, it doesn't stay too long in me. 

I've come to realize that it's really just my super active mind and imagination that causes my anxiety or sometimes it comes from watching or reading too much horrible news (read: plane crashes, missing planes, sheesh). I'm not sure I have fear of flying though because I'm not really afraid. I just get anxious and worried sometimes. 

According to the Miami Helicopter guide, "for most people with a fear of flying, as we have seen, the cause is linked to the self and the triumph of imagination over reality. This also means that the solution to the problem lies within ourselves and how we both view and approach the world."

Is there a way to overcome this fear or anxiety? Human flight is often regarded as one of the most miraculous advancements in recent history, but it can also make you feel powerless. 

Read on for tips and tricks to help you take back control as you take to the skies. Here are some of the things I personally do to overcome my anxiety (or if you'd like to call it fear, then it is). 

1. Meditate. Inhale. Exhale. 

You won't believe how proper breathing helps big time. I used to think that it won't work but oh my goodness, inhaling then exhaling actually does wonders to keep yourself calm and collected. I know it has something to do with your blood circulation too so it's definitely supported by science. 

In fact, proper breathing techniques help in most situations when you need to calm down and meditate. I do the 4-7-8 breathing technique! There are lots of YouTube tutorials and Google articles about how to do that properly. ;) 

2. Stay optimistic and excited. 

It always helps to think of your destination and to look forward to the exciting moments you will have once you arrive. It keeps your mind occupied with happy thoughts, thus, pushing negative thoughts away from your head. This basically applies to vacations and leisure travels.. or even business travels wherein you have a business goal. 

3. Write it out! Or read. 

Writing is pretty much my life. So if you're someone like me, bring a handy or pocket notebook or journal. Write happy thoughts, doodle, scribble, or draw. Most of the time, I bring a book too (one that's not too heavy to hand carry) to keep myself busy. Or if I don't have a book with me, I read the airline's magazine over and over again!

4. Talk to someone. 

Now this is hoping that you're traveling with someone. I always, always talk and chat with my son when inside the plane because most of the time he's happy, amazed, and amused. And he's contagious! Even before, when he was younger and prone to tantrums, talking with him was the easiest way to keep myself busy. 

If you're traveling alone and don't mind chatting with your seatmate.. granted that he or she doesn't mind chatting with you too.. then good! But if you think it isn't possible, you still have more ways to keep yourself occupied ayt! 

5. Bring something to eat. And don't forget water. 

I bring candy, gum, chips, chocolates, or sandwich. Nothing heavy.. because the last time I ate a heavy meal, I had to endure a terrible stomach ache for the entire flight with a toddler sleeping on my lap, and I was too shy to approach any of the flight attendants to carry my son for a little while. Sheessshh, that was the worst flight ever. And of course, stay hydrated enough.. so bring water. It will help calm you down too. 

I know that for some people, overcoming fear or anxiety is not as easy as eating a candy or having someone to talk with. It may take long term therapy or medications. In that regard, the guide I mentioned above is a good read. It talks about the psychology behind the fear of flying, more tips to overcome fear both short term and long term, and some stories about people who did overcome that fear. Read it here

Do you have any tips or tricks to share to overcome fear of flying? Please share below! 

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