Even though flying is considered one of the safest forms of transportation, many fear it. The fear of flying, also known as aerophobia or aviophobia, can disable you and bring on symptoms such as rapid heart rate, dizziness, nausea and shaking and trembling. Negative past flying experiences, aeroplane-disaster movies and the fear of terror attacks can all trigger aerophobia. To refuse to let your fear get the better of you, learn techniques and natural remedies that can help ease and control your fear of flying.
- Skill level:
Learn breathing techniques to help calm you down while flying. When fear sets in, your breathing speeds up and becomes shallow. You can start hyperventilating out of panic. Practice breathing deeply. Close your mouth and place one hand on your stomach. Inhale deeply through your nose until your lungs cannot take any more air. Hold your breath for three seconds. Open your lips slightly and release all the air through your mouth. These belly-breaths should inflate and deflate your stomach. Repeat this exercise 10 times or until you feel calm.
Take a holistic approach to ease your fear of flying. Take herbal remedies, such as Valerian, skullcap or St. John's Wort, which according to the Native Remedies website, help relax you and calm your nerves while in flight.
Occupy yourself while flying. Bring magazines or crossword puzzles, listen to music or watch a movie to distract your mind and to keep you from thinking about all the terrible things that can happen.
Avoid eating sugar and drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages, because at high altitudes these can have an adverse affect and may heighten your anxiety.
Practice muscle relaxation techniques to help you get rid of tension while flying. During anxiety your muscles get tense. By controlling the tension, you can release stress. Sit in a comfortable chair and tense your entire lower body. Hold the tension for eight seconds before releasing it and relaxing your lower body. Tense and relax your abdomen and chest in a similar fashion, followed by your arms, shoulders and neck and lastly your face. You can tense and relax each body part separately or work them in groups.
Consult your doctor about prescription anti-anxiety medication to help ease the symptoms of anxiety while flying.
Tips and warnings
- Consult your doctor about cognitive behavioural therapy if you want to overcome your fear of flying. During cognitive behaviour therapy, a therapist helps you think, feel and behave differently about flying.
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