Useful ways to get over your fear of flying

Travel without trepidation

Flying is thrilling for those who enjoy soaring above the clouds to get from point A to point B. Sure, the check-in and TSA process may be a drag, but once seated and the flight attendant has come around with the drink cart and peanuts, the trip is usually easy. But for some people flying creates fear, and the idea of getting on a plane sends shivers down their spine. A 20-hour car ride sounds more appealing than hopping on a far-swifter flight.

If you are among those with a flying phobia, you know the fear is real. But it doesn't mean you are destined to a life of air travel that makes you tremble. Here are some useful ways to help you triumph over your fear of flying, making the skies a whole lot friendlier.

Educate yourself

Understanding the process of your journey will help alleviate your fears

Knowledge is power. Before booking your trip, learn the ins and outs of airplane safety, structure, and processes. The more you know, the less you'll be paralyzed by the fear of the unknown. With relevant information, there are fewer "what ifs" making your worries and fears subside since you'll have the upper hand over the travel "demons" that formerly frightened you.

For example, Travel + Leisuresuggests studying up on the causes of turbulence and why it is generally nothing to be alarmed about. Additionally, don't wait until you're boarded to get the safety instructions from the flight attendants. They go through the motions pretty quickly and you may not be focused enough to absorb any of the details. Go online and read up on safety strategies, exit plans, unforeseen water landings, how to put on an oxygen mask, etc. You can also contact the airline directly for brochures or links as to where to find information specific to the plane you'll be flying on.

Book a seat that suits your preferences

Aisle? Window? Where do you feel the most comfortable?

Make your travel plans as early as possible so you can have your prime choice of seating. According to Travel + Leisure, the back of the plane usually makes for a bumpier flight, so book a seat as close to the front of the plane as possible. Smooth sailing will help you keep your wits about you. Plus, you won't spill your drink!

Also, think about where you'll be the most comfortable. Will looking out the window provide for a comforting distraction, or will the open sky spook you even more? Maybe the aisle seat will give you the chance to get up quickly if you need to use the lavatory or afford you the opportunity to chit chat with the flight attendant when he or she comes by. Perhaps the middle seat will give you that secure, enclosed feeling that calms you down.

Have a blanket and neck pillow on hand and make the seat as cozy as possible. You may even fall asleep, making your anxiety drift away as you drift off.

Distract yourself

Flying is a great time to catch up on that article you've been meaning to read!

The more you sit there and worry, the worse your fears will become. Get out of your head and into something fun. As Quick and Dirty Tips recommends, "Tune outward, not inward. Rather than trying to soothe yourself, which can feel too 'therapeutic,' engage yourself with a riveting movie, captivating book, or addictive app."

Bring or buy plenty of snacks so your mind is focused on munching, talk to your travel companion, or plan your itinerary for your trip. You can even catch up on work-related items or study for an exam. Even though you are stuck in a small seat for hours, there are plenty of things to do to make the time pass faster. Distraction is desirable!

Get professional help

Sometimes you need to call in the profesisonals

If your fears are truly debilitating, seeing a professional is something to consider, especially if you must fly regularly. Learning how to cope effectively and reduce your fears is doable and can be extremely freeing.

According to Reader's Digest, "Professionals will arm you with techniques and invaluable insight to help you feel more calm about this anxiety. Consider finding a psychotherapist in your area who specializes in phobias, anxiety, and fear.

You may find help through talk therapy alone, but perhaps you will be prescribed medication, as Travel + Leisure points out. "Anxiety medications work effectively as sedatives, so all the noise and movement doesn't register as something to get worked up about."

After a series of sessions, flying may go from something you fear to a trip you're armed to enjoy.

Safe (and not-so-scary) travels!


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