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Overcoming your fear of flying

Fear of flying is one of the most common phobias experienced. While simple anxiety about flying can be overcome, a phobia about flying can result in the person avoiding getting on an air plane altogether. This can become quite problematic if you are required to fly for work reasons or you have friends and family residing in different countries.

The fear of flying is usually as a result of your mind distorting the level of threat involved in flying. In other words, your mind is able to convince you of things that are simply not true of flying and, as a result, can create more fear based on misinformation. Emotional reasoning is another contributing factor to the fear of flying. This means that you make a judgement based on a feeling. For example, if I feel that the plane is unsafe then it must be true and I must not get on that flight. These are two ways in which your mind plays tricks on you and results in an irrational fear of flying.

In order to overcome your fear of flying, you need to correct these distortions.

  • Learn to separate your fears from the real threats involved. Simply because you are feeling something does not mean that this is, in fact, the reality. Learning about the statistics involved in flight emergencies and realising that your chances of being in an emergency situation in your motor vehicle is far more likely than in an air plane. In fact, the statistics show that flying is the safest mode of transportation. This is a fact.
  • Learn about the steps involved in becoming a pilot and the safety procedures that are undertaken before a flight commences. Knowing the amount of precision and expertise that goes into flying an air plane may also instil a greater sense of security. Knowing that the air plane has to undergo several safety checks before commencing the flight is also a sense of security.
  • Learn some relaxation techniques. Speak to a counsellor or therapist to assist you in relaxation training where you can learn to manage your fears and anxiety should it arise during a flight. Feeling like you are in control of what happens will also go a long way towards reducing the anxiety experienced.
Annabelle Young | CFHP
Annabelle Young

Clinical Psychologist Annabelle Young has extensive experience in working with people with depression, anxiety (including panic), adjustment difficulties, stress, trauma, PTSD, bipolar disorder, low self-esteem, grief and loss, interpersonal difficulties, as well as alcohol and drug use issues.

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