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Overcoming a Fear of Flying

February 25, 2016

helicopter ride nyMillions of people suffer from a fear of flying, but that fear is generally unfounded. While flying accidents make the news, they are actually very rare, occurring much less often than car accidents. Flying is one of the safest means of travel. If you are afraid of flying, there are some strategies you can use to put yourself at ease.

The first step is to educate yourself. Learn what the flight will be like so you know what to expect. Do some research to learn about how airplanes or helicopters work, as well as the amount of routine maintenance they undergo and how much training and experience pilots are required to have in order to be in their position.

The next step is to learn to manage your anxiety and relax. You can reduce your anxiety in general by exercising, meditating, or practicing deep breathing. This will help you relax when it comes time to fly. Practice visualizing what the flight will be like in advance to better prepare yourself. If you are still concerned that you will not be able to manage your anxiety during your flight, you might want to ask your doctor to prescribe anti-anxiety medication to calm your nerves.

Take a short, direct flight, if possible. The less time you spend in the air, the less anxiety you will experience. If you are planning to fly in an airplane, request a seat over a wing. This will make the flight feel smoother. Choose a seat on the aisle or in an exit row so you won’t feel trapped. If you are planning to fly on an airplane, choosing a larger plane can mean a smoother flight. Flying during the day may also make you feel safer than flying at night.

Arrive at the airport or helipad early to go through security, see the terminal, and mentally prepare yourself for the flight. Talk to the pilot, and remind yourself that he or she is a highly qualified professional with a wealth of training and experience. Do not drink lots of alcohol to calm yourself during the flight. This could make you feel worse. Instead, practice deep breathing, read, play games, or strike up a conversation with the person next to you to distract yourself from the fact that you are in an airplane or helicopter.

If you are afraid of flying, you are not alone. By recognizing that flying is very safe and learning to manage your anxiety, you can overcome your fear and may even learn to enjoy flying.