Did you know there’s more chance of drowning in a bubble bath (1 in 840,000) than dying on a plane?
Aviophobia (aka the fear of flying) is a mind over matter thing, and with a few simple tricks, you can actually beat it.
Here’s some slightly different tips and tricks I’ve come across which have been scientifically proven to help cure the fear of flying.
SIZE MATTERS (and positioning)
The bigger the plane, the smoother the ride. But the real trick is to find an aisle seat closest to the wing.
There’s less turbulence, and if you manage to not look outside the window, chances are you’ll get less freaked out!
JERK-OFF BEFORE TAKEOFF
Yeah, sounds filthy but this isn’t just an excuse to bash one out. When you blow your load, the brain releases a stress and anxiety reducing hormone, Oxytocin.
It really helps.
Talking of anxiety. Chewing gum reduces anxiety and can decrease stress almost immediately.
I think when we eat our body sends safety signals to the brain or something like that. So pack some Wriggleys.
KNOW YOUR SH*T
If you’re the type of person who panics and asks “is that normal?” or “is it meant to sound like that?” then having an understanding about how planes work and why they make certain noises will remove any concerns when something ‘unusual’ occurs.
Here’s a great article by backpackertravel.org which explains all the plane sounds.
Checkout Virgin’s flyingwithoutfear.co.uk course…
What is turbulence?
Remember, anxiety thrives on uncertainty. An hours worth of learning about how planes work and why they do certain things / make certain noises will put your worries to rest when it happens during the flight (and make you smarter).
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me danger is very real. But fear is a choice.” – Will Smith, After Earth, (2013).
CBT helps people control their fears, by questioning their negative thoughts and emotions.
There also are a number of CBT courses available online which could be worth checking out.
It’s THE most important thing we do as humans and totally underused when in times of need.
There’s a dozen mindfulness apps (Headspace my personal favourite) which have specific tutorials for meditating when flying.
Or you could try:
Breathe in through your nose for four seconds.
Hold your breath for seven.
Exhale through your mouth for eight.
Repeat until calm.
Another one that works for some people is:
LEFT NOSTRIL BREATHING
Block the right nostril with your finger or thumb and take a deep breath in through your left nostril. Exhale slowly with the right. Repeat.
AVOID THE FOLLOWING
#B. Flights with multiple stops
#C. Too much booze
#D. Drugs / stimulants
#E. READING / WATCHING ANYTHING TO DO WITH PLANE CRASHES
By the way, if anything like Final Destination or Snakes on Planes is on the in-flight entertainment thing, I’d recommend NOT watching…
Anti-Anxiety medications / nerve aids like Kalms can be extremely effective short term cures / fixes for flight phobia, but there’s solid evidence and a handful of reasons why you shouldn’t use them.
Check out psychologytoday.com’s “anti-anxiety medication and flying article” for more info on nerve aids..
And here’s a GOV study showing the positive impact CBT has had on aviophobia.
If you’re sh*t scared of turbulence and don’t mind getting geeky, there’s a site called Turbulence Forecast which shows flight routes with the least turbulence.