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Do you suffer panic attacks centred on plane visions plummeting to Earth when you board an aircraft? Flying doesn’t feel natural to most people. Human beings are not meant to fly after all. So, it makes sense that when confined in a small, overcrowded cabin 30,000 feet in the air, you would feel anxious. Flying is a reminder of the vulnerability of one.
Afraid to Fly? Well, You’re Not Alone Then
As many as 25% of all Americans are nervous about getting on a plane, according to ABC News. Approximately 6.5% of the population, or 20 million people, have a more severe fear of flying called Aviophobia.
Aviophobia can be a real problem if it involves travel in part of your job description. You could go to extreme lengths to avoid flying, like pretending you’re too sick to fly.
You may experience shortness of breath, nausea, and sweating if you get into the flight — all things that can make you feel tired and ruin your productivity. The good news is that your fear of flying can be overcome. Here are a few ways you can ease your concerns.
Time to Change Your Thoughts
You may have heard that flying is one of the safest forms of transportation. Facts, however, do not fuel a fear of flying. Behind this type of phobia are irrational thoughts involving catastrophic scenarios. These convictions make it impossible to feel safe to fly. These worst-case scenario thoughts are so powerful that physical symptoms are even produced. It can be difficult to keep them from happening
One method used by cognitive behavioural therapists is called cognitive restructuring to combat anxious thoughts. The thoughts are automatic most of the time. So, without thinking about it, you have them. You learn to identify automatic thoughts that are irrational and replace them with more realistic ones in order to use cognitive restructuring.
For instance, you might take the idea “if I have a medical emergency on board, there’s no way to get help” and change it to “airline staff are trained to handle medical emergencies. They routinely practice what to do if a passenger has a medical problem and make sure I get the medical treatment that I need. “Practicing the technique is the key with cognitive restructuring.
If you wait until you’re on the plane to try it, it won’t work. Instead, regularly write down your thoughts and challenge ideas you identify as irrational. By consistently doing this exercise, when it comes time for your flight, you will feel less anxious.
The average passenger in aviation is not very knowledgeable. Feeling afraid of the unknown is natural. The truth is, however, that nearly no other mode of transport is as safe as flying. Moreover, thanks to advances in design and engineering, aircraft are becoming safer every year. As a result, flying is less likely to cause you to die than anything else.
Aircraft are carefully designed to cope with emergencies. Motor failures do not, as most people imagine, cause the plane to plummet from the sky. All commercial airline operators are designed to fly on one engine only. Even if both engines fail, before landing, an aircraft can glide for more than 70 miles. This gives the pilot plenty of time to land the aircraft safely.
While turbulence is frightening, planes are being built for it. Most of the time, during turbulence, jets only rise and fall a few feet. Even if the bumpiness is severe enough to spill your drink, there’s nothing to worry about — the plane won’t crash. All of the flight crew are well trained in managing emergencies as well.
Pilots and co-pilots need to update their skills frequently. All flight crew are carefully selected based on their ability to communicate, work well under pressure, and manage multiple information streams.
Taking the time to learn about aviation can help alleviate fears a long way. You can sit back and relax when you step on the plane knowing you’re safe.
Speak With a Therapist
A therapist can help you develop the ability to cope with your flying anxiety. Therapy can help you identify triggers that cause your anxiety by using anxiety-specific treatments to safely confront your fear. Treatment may include the following 3 steps:
Exposure Therapy; Until you are no longer anxious, you are gradually exposed to flying.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; This involves identifying, confronting and changing anxiety-causing ill-adaptive thinking patterns.
Relaxation Abilities; Relaxation abilities such as deep breathing and visualisation are effective ways of managing anxiety.
Don’t let your fear put your job at risk. The strategies mentioned above will help you to overcome your anxiety. You may even be looking forward to your next business trip.