The feeling of fear is hard to define and even harder to understand. It is easy to see that if you have gone through a trauma, you will have fears about getting into similar situations, but it can be confusing when you fear something that you have no personal cause to be afraid of.
The fear of flying is called aviophobia, and it is not surprisingly a very widespread phobia. For some people, it can invoke other phobias, such as claustrophobia, fear of losing control, fear of terrorism, etc. You might experience dizziness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and other physical symptoms when you are forced to confront your fear if you have not taken some steps towards overcoming it beforehand.
Your mind can play some pretty nasty tricks on you sometimes, so it is crucial to learn the proper management of your fearful thoughts. Our population has been exposed to horrific images of planes crashing both in movies, on television shows, on the news, and elsewhere in the media. Despite the indisputable fact that flying is actually an incredibly safe mode of transportation, many people simply cannot rid themselves of the horrifying images that they have seen – even if they were fictional and dramatized images.
The chances that you will die in an automobile accident are exponentially higher than the chance that you will die in an airplane, but people do not readily make that association, possibly because of planes crash from up in the air, while cars crash down on the ground – the perception is that anything at “ground level” is safer; it seems less catastrophic or dramatic than a plane crash.
If you check out the statistics, you will see just how fractional your chances of being killed in a plane crash are. Your chances of dying due to a motor vehicle accident are as much as three times that much. I’m not trying to give you a complex about driving to replace the flying phobia – but I think that a reality check is in order if you are obsessed with your fear of flying in an airplane.
The first step in overcoming your aviophobia is determining the root of your fear. Has someone that you cared about died in a plane crash? Did you have a turbulent and frightening trip on a plane at some time in your life? Do you fear the thought of being enclosed in an airplane? Was there a particular movie or real-life plane crash that is triggered in your memory when you contemplate getting onto an airplane? Finding the source of your phobia will lead you to find a cure for it.
You do not need to live your entire life without getting onto an airplane simply because you have a nagging and persistent fear of flying. You will be limiting yourself from potentially enriching life experiences by deciding that you will never fly. If you overcome your fear – when you overcome it – you will be proud of yourself, and you will be ready to embrace your life more fully. Do not allow fear to hold you back from everything that this world has to offer you – you only live once! Some people who long to travel the globe will pass up that opportunity merely because they are afraid to get on a plane – don’t limit yourself!
If your fear of flying is the result of traumatic life experience, then you could benefit from some professional counseling. There are many experts who specialize in phobias and have had great success in helping patients to overcome phobias. If you have a traumatic link to airplanes, a counselor can help you to sort through your emotions – you will get to the root of your stress rather than relying on your surface fear. Hypnosis can also be a helpful therapy for overcoming fears; however, if you are very skeptical about the validity of hypnosis, it probably won’t work for you.
If your fear of flying is not the result of traumatic life experience, then try to keep an open mind about the alternative therapies that are available to you. There are some virtual reality machines that can put you into a simulated airplane flying experience so that you are mentally prepared for flying in a plane. You will have a better sense of what it is really like without having to take the bold step of getting onto an airplane too soon.
The more you know about the flying experience, the better you can visualize it and get comfortable with it. Knowledge is power – your goal is to be in command of your thought processes. Things that are unknown are often scary, and that is why it can be so helpful to truly understand the flying experience if you are trying to overcome your fear of it.