“What Flying Teaches You Is To Overcome Fear With Knowledge.”
Creating the correct mindset can help overcome your fear of flying, but you have to be prepared and determined to ride the roller-coaster of setbacks and success. The process of overcoming your fear of flying needs to be viewed as a thrilling game and not a frightening act.
The same enthusiasm and energy that you apply when learning a new language, sport, or musical instrument needs to be shown when trying to fix your fear of flying. This will intensify your drive and increase your capacity to handle unavoidable setbacks.
Below are the 5 ways to fix your fear of flying:
1. Learn and understand how airplanes work
Learning the build and working of planes and how they fly is an effective way to fix your fear of flying. Negative/limiting thoughts that pop into the mind are typically the main triggers of fear. Filling the mind with facts about aspects of flying that trigger the most worries and fears can help get rid of the ‘what-if’ thoughts!
If you are fearful about turbulence then learn about it and understand how it is not a problem for airplanes. Challenging negative thoughts with such bare facts can help ease the fear of turbulence and other aspects of flying.
2. Decrease your background anxiety
Reduction of background anxiety (relationships, career, etc) is important when overcoming your fear of flying. Background anxiety refers to different kinds of anxiety that affect sufferers on a daily basis. It may be noted that people with the fear of flying tend to experience greater levels of background anxiety than other people. This means that their reaction to different stress-causing events is more intense and more fearful.
Perform relaxation exercises (These On My YouTube Channel will help) on a daily basis which will help reduce background anxiety and turn on your rest response. Background anxiety many times comes down to not accepting or expressing something. So what are you carrying around?
3. Warm up/use visualization
Visualization techniques (I recommend This One) will help tremendously before boarding an airplane. Prior to boarding create a movie in your mind of you leaving the house with your luggage, walking onto a plane, listening to your favourite songs while the flight is on, and landing swiftly. These types of visualization warm ups are not only tremendously affective for the fear of flying, but for any other fears you may have.
4. Don’t be afraid to tell the crew
Prior to taking off let the crew of the airplane know about your fear of flying. This will in turn create comfort within you knowing that mental and emotional help can be right around the corner (should you need to re-focus back on the facts, rather than get caught up in your feelings.
5. Take baby steps
This in CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) terms is called systematic desensitization. Create a 10 step hierarchy/ladder, and at the bottom of that ladder write down your least feared action related to the fear of flying. This could be drawing an airplane (I did this), followed by the 2nd greatest fear which would be watching a documentary on airplanes, followed by the 3rd which could be spending time in an airport watching the planes fly off.
Systematic desensitization is highly effective because once you get to stage 6 or 7, stage 10 (the greatest fear you have, in this case getting on plane and going somewhere) isn’t that big of a deal. Remember, the brain is ‘live wired’ which means that it learns from experiences. And the more time you spend around the thing that scares you the most, the faster the neural connections in your brain will change.