Tips to Overcome Your Fear of Flying

12 Sep

Book a flight with one of the safest airlines in the country to ease your fear of flying.

I love to travel, but I have this ragingly annoying fear of flying. In fact, I’m a giant freak about it. Thankfully I don’t let my fear of flying keep me from actually getting on a plane, but it’s still really annoying.

I envy those people who are completely unfazed by getting on a plane. While I’m busy practically giving birth in my seat everytime the plane dares to make a noise, these people are freaking napping. I once sat next to an off-duty flight attendant who slept from before the plane took off in Pittsburgh until we landed in Phoenix. This guy was so relaxed that nothing was waking him up. Thankfully I was there to stay wide awake the entire time to monitor every sound the engines made and analyze every slight bump of turbulence. It’s a hard job, but someone’s gotta do it. Right?

This past Labor Day weekend my boyfriend and I flew to New York City for a little vacation. This is a mere one hour and twenty-minute flight. I decided to use this short flight as my opportunity to work on overcoming my incredibly annoying fear of flying. I’m proud to say that I think I made some progress. Here’s how I did it:

1.) Studying the List of the Safest Airlines: This past April ABC News published a list of the 7 Safest airlines in the United States. When you look at the statistics and see how small the chance of any type of safety incident occurring is, it’s actually pretty reassuring. Book your flight with one of these airlines and know that you have a 99.9999% chance of landing safely at your destination. Even if this doesn’t reassure your crazy little mind that much, go ahead and worry all you want, but at least your fears will likely be unjustified. Why? Because the numbers don’t lie – the airline has a proven safety record!

2.) Psych Yourself Up: I treat myself like a small, dumb child before flying. I’m not sure what this says about me, but it often works. I got myself all excited to be up in the clouds on the way to New York City. I thought about it for days, how cool it will be when we’re up in the sky, flying by the clouds. This sounds stupid, probably because it is, but as soon as we started flying by those big, fluffy clouds, I got way excited. Instead of freaking out about the sound of the engine, the fact that we were a billion feet up in the air, or re-reading the emergency instructions 100x, I actually found a way to enjoy the flight! Total win.

3.) Research Your Fear of Flying: I found this great website, SOAR, that helps people overcome their fear of flying. You can pay for one-on-one help from the professionals to overcome your fear of flying (one of the founders is a pilot), join in on free Wednesday evening chat sessions, or read the stories in their online library for free. I chose to read a lot of the stories in their online library. Although a lot of these stories are common sense, I found them really reassuring.

4.) Focus on Your Destination: In the past I’ve worked myself up so much about the flight, that I completely forgot that the plane would be landing in a fun destination. How stupid is that?! Anyone who knows me is aware that I am not a crier, but when that plane touched down on dry land, I was always so genuinely shocked we made it alive that I’d get a little teary. Now, that’s just plain idiotic. Thankfully I am aware that this way of thinking is a problem. I knew I needed to stop thinking this way, so on my trip to New York I refused to let myself think about but making it there safely. Before and during the flight I focused on how excited I was to be going to New York City. And on the way home, well there was no way to pump myself up about having to go home to Pittsburgh, but at least I wise enough to focus on that safe landing. This sounds stupid and simple, probably because it is, but it really helped to calm my crazy self.

5.) Shower Yourself With Gifts: When I was little, my mom used to buy me presents to distract me when I was getting a shot at the doctor’s office. Just as they’d jab me with that needle, a Barbie doll would appear in front of my face. I fell for it everytime. And I still do. I make sure to load my carry on bag with tons of fun things to distract me on the plane. For longer flights I’ll buy a dvd for the occasion, not letting myself watch it until we get on the plane. Or I make sure to bring a book that I’ve been wanting to read. Again, I’m fortunate enough to be a simple minded adult-child, but I swear this really works. If you distract yourself with shiny new objects, you’re less likely to focus all of your energy on the fact that you’re traveling through the sky on a big airplane.

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