Fear of Flying
Over the years, flying has grown in popularity. And while it offers much in the way of convenience, it’s also the source of great frustration for many of us. From constant delays to seats with no legroom, flying often feels like a chore, not a privilege.
But for some people, flying is more than just a source of annoyance. If you’re afraid of flying, the mere thought of taking flight can trigger feelings of anxiety and terror. These intense fears are known clinically as a phobia.
The fear of flying is so common that almost everyone knows someone who has it. And despite the fact that flying is actually one of the safest ways to travel, news stories of air crashes don’t do much to calm your fears. TV and movies also show planes in a negative light, which can make the problem worse.
Fear of flying is also very common, and almost 20 percent of people report that their fear interferes with their work and social lives.
It’s not uncommon for fearful fliers to avoid vacations and job promotions.
Fear of flying typically often involves something bad happening to the plane, such as:
- The plane will suddenly lose power while in the air
- The doors will somehow open mid-flight
- The plane will hit a bird, or some other object, causing a fire
- The plane will crash or collide with something
And despite the fact that modern aircraft are designed to protect against incidents like these, your fear of flying is not logical. You can’t simply rationalize it away.
Can also include the following:
- Panic attacks
- Closed in spaces
- Flying over water
- Feeling embarrassed
- Being trapped (door closing)
- Trusting pilots
- Being out of control
- Trusting air traffic controllers
- Trusting airline industry
- Trusting the mechanics
- Being far away from loved ones
- Trusting the integrity of the plane
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What causes a fear of flying?
Your fear of flying will have triggers – thoughts, images, sensations, and memories – to which you’ve become sensitized. If you’re sensitive to certain bodily feelings, you may be more susceptible to being afraid of normal turbulence, or when the plane takes off and lands. Or, if you’re afraid of heights, you may become afraid when you realize just how high up the plane is flying.
The list of triggers can include:
- social anxieties
- being too far from home.
- illness spread through the air system
- using the toilets
- violence on the plane
What’s behind your fear of flying?
For more than 90% of people with a fear of flying, your fear will cause you to feel overwhelmed at some point during flight. Usually people experience an unexpected panic while flying, and then worry the terrifying symptoms will return on their next flight.
These panics typically emerge between the ages of 17 to 34, around the time of major life events, including: birth, death, marriage, divorce, or graduation. In many cases, people will develop a fear of flying quite suddenly, and wonder why they’d been able to fly comfortably before. Very few fears of flying originate with a traumatic flight.
Experts divide fear of flying into three main groups:
- Those who don’t fly or haven’t flown for more than five years despite the opportunity to do so.
- Those who fly only when absolutely necessary with extreme terror.
- Those who fly when required, but with anxiety
Avoiding your fear of flying will not only make it worse but, fear can start spreading to other areas and shrink your life.
You can overcome your fear of flying.
If you’re struggling with a fear of flying, please get in touch with us. After you contact our office, we’ll work together on a plan to help you:
- Handle your worries before and during flights
- Respond to your uncomfortable physical symptoms
- Develop muscle relaxation skills for immediate relief
- Develop breathing skills that reduce tensions
- Stop irrational thoughts as they come up
- Overcome your fear of heights and closed in spaces
- Address concerns during takeoff, turbulence and weather conditions
It is possible to overcome your fear of flying. It starts by taking that first step, and asking for help. Let’s get started.
The Next Step is Yours – Take It!
A Personal Letter To YOU,
It takes courage to initiate a change in your life – especially one that has been weighing you down for a long time. It is almost as if that which you want to get rid of, is a familiar friend. In reality it is your enemy, that undermines and restricts you everyday.
Isn’t it time to finally throw the enemy out and live the rest of your life free?
The expertise we have at the Alpine Counselling Clinic is unsurpassed. The thousands of clients we have helped to make significant changes in their lives over the past 30 years, bears good testament to our professionalism and commitment.
If you are hesitant in any way about taking the next step, call the number below and ask for me personally – so we can talk. I guarantee your satisfaction.
Claire Maisonneuve, director Alpine Clinic.