16How To Overcome Fear Of Flying

Your fear of flying causes great injustice to yourself and your loved ones.

Think about weddings, family reunions or funerals you have missed due to your phobia.

Consider the time you wasted going by train or car that could have been spent at the destination.

What about some of the places you have dreamt of visiting and the only thing stopping you is your fear of getting on a plane?

Maybe your phobia stems from feelings of claustrophobia and feeling trapped in your seat.

Perhaps you are scared that the plane will crash and you will die.

To overcome fear of flying, you need to trust and know that the likelihood of an airplane accident is small.

More importantly, you need to learn and practice techniques that will help you control and then completely eliminate your anxiety related to flying.

By overcoming fear of flying, you will be able to visit your dream destinations and you will no longer negatively obsess about a plane trip days and weeks ahead of time.

You may even start to enjoy being a passenger, looking at beautiful bird’s eye views of cities through cumulonimbus clouds, while sitting back, relaxed in your seat.

Controlling and Then Eliminating Your Anxiety

Part of your mind has been programmed incorrectly. This is not a flaw in character or a weakness of intellect.

It is not the logical part of your brain that has been fed false information – it is the instinctive or flight-or-fight portion that has been misled.

In all humans, this part of the brain, called the amygdala, is supposed to react to actual threats.

But your amygdala also reacts to irrational or non-existent dangers, like every time you take a plane ride, you fear you will crash or become trapped.

The signals sent out by your amygdala cause you to feel anxiety and panic.

As part of your own fear of flying treatment, you must learn to reprogram this portion of the brain.

This will allow you to control and then eliminate your anxiety.

One step is to consciously realize that although anxiety symptoms and panic attacks are frightening, they actually pose no threat.

Often when people have panic attacks they are scared they will lose control, that they will become insane or that they will die.

By learning to “ride” the panic attack until it plays out, your brain will be taught that the end result is not a loss of control, insanity or death.

Rest assured that an individual panic attack does have an endpoint, so it is completely feasible for you to ride it out.

So how do you “ride” your symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks you may be asking?

It involves not suppressing these feelings, but being present with them.

You can practice this on an actual flight, the night before a plane trip or in a role playing exercise.

Be fully conscious of the exact racing thoughts running through your mind. Observe your physical symptoms.

Are you shaking, lightheaded, feeling tightness in your chest, feeling tension in your neck or do you have a tingly sensation in your arm?

Allowing the anxious sensations to fully overtake your body and mind is frightening.

But the less you hold back and the more you practice this technique, the more you will realize that your fears of what you believe will happen will not actually occur.

By riding anxiety, you are reprogramming your amygdala and preventing future panic attacks associated with flying.

Before you take your next flight, it is also important to practice some relaxation exercises.

Learn and implement stretches and movements for each part of your body to get rid of muscle tension.

This will help you board and take your seat while feeling calm.

Truly Knowing the Mechanics of Flying

Learning the basics of how an airplane works is one component of how to overcome fear of flying.

It is important that you learn these facts on an emotional level, not only an intellectual one, since you are dealing with an intuitively-based condition.

The risk of an airplane’s engines failing is close to nil.

If the engines were to quit, however, the plane would never rush to the ground.

First of all, at typical in-flight altitude, the lift (the force that holds up the plane in the air) still acts on the plane with or without the engines running.

Secondly, if the engines permanently shut off, the plane would glide and not cascade down to the Earth.

A typical commercial plane would glide for 100 miles, and within the United States, this would almost always allow the plane to land at an airport.

But again, total engine failure is nearly impossible.

This is just skimming the surface.

The more you learn about the safety of plane travel, the more you will want to fly instead of drive to work or on errand runs.



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