How Do You Cope with a Fear of Flying?

Do you have a fear of flying? It’s one of the most common fears, and it holds many people back from experiencing the great views and feeling of freedom you get when you’re up above the clouds, whether in a small private plane or a large commercial airliner. But overcoming fear of flying can be done. Follow these six simple steps to do just that.

Be aware of your triggers

Anxiety always has a trigger—it’s an emotion or event that elicits your inner fight-or-flight response. Start facing your fear by identifying particular triggers, which helps you manage fear during times of low anxiety. When you’re able to identify what sets you off, you have a better chance of discovering how to turn it off.

Understand the risks

Anxiety is usually the cause of “what if?” thoughts. Instead of panicking and repeating “what if?” questions, arm yourself with knowledge. Catastrophic events involving aviation are incredibly rare—much more so than car accidents or other harmful occurrences that happen at ground level. When you understand the facts, you have the answer to those “what if?” questions, reducing your anxiety and fear.

Separate fear from danger

The body’s natural fight-or-flight response makes it difficult for people to separate fear from real, imminent danger. It’s helpful to tell yourself that anxiety and fear make your thoughts feel more likely to happen, but that you’re not in danger of an imminent threat. Despite feeling anxiety, you are safe.

Anticipate turbulence

It’s rare to take flight and not experience turbulence, even just a little bit. A great way to reduce fear and anxiety when turbulence hits is by learning more about the design of aircraft and how it specifically counteracts turbulence. Focus on managing your anxiety during times of turbulence, rather than how severe the bumps might be.

Inform fellow fliers

Whether you’re learning to become a pilot yourself or you’re wanting to take to the skies as a passenger, it’s always helpful to let others know of your anxieties and worries before taking off. Other fliers can help alleviate anxiety if they have an understanding of your triggers. Let them know what strategies you find useful for alleviating anxiety during flight so that other fliers know how to help you during stressful situations.

Appreciate each flight

One of the key strategies in overcoming fear of flying is to get out there and fly! Humans are naturally apprehensive of what they don’t know or understand, which is why direct exposure is the best way to improve your familiarity with flight, including the sights, sounds and feelings you experience while up in the air. When you retrain your brain to become less sensitized to anxiety-inducing triggers, flight will become routine and not a cause for fear.

Fear of flying can hold you back from some amazing views, incredible experiences and a general feeling of freedom. Over time, conquering a fear of flight is entirely possible. Contact First Flight Aviation to discover more coping techniques that help you alleviate your fear of flying.

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