Overcoming Your Flight Anxiety

Flight Anxiety

Holly-Noelle Haworth

If you have a fear of flying, you’re not alone. Overcoming this fear can be painful, time-consuming, and it definitely requires courage. But good news—it’s possible. Learning how to cope with your flight anxiety is, anyway.

Everyone has phobias, which are extreme or irrational fears of something. This definition is relevant to flight anxiety, because many plane-o-phobics know that flying is safe, yet are still afraid of it. In other words, people with a fear of flying know that the odds are in their favor and that the chance of a plane crash is slim to none. But, anxiety often overpowers any rational thinking we may have. We are often able to recognize that our fears are irrational, but it’s hard to reason with anxiety.

That’s why learning how to cope with your fear of flying or flight anxiety is essential. Here’s a three-step guide to coping with your flight anxiety.

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Understand your triggers.

Some triggers specific to flight anxiety include turbulence, terrorism, plane crashes, being away from home, or the plane taking off and landing. Some might fear other things, such as contracting an airborne illness, using the airplane bathrooms, or violence. And sometimes, you might even have a bad feeling or thought about your flight and become afraid that those feelings or thoughts will turn into a real-life catastrophe. 

Expose yourself to your triggers

Once you understand and acknowledge the potential triggers for your flight anxiety (or any anxiety for that matter), you have to expose yourself to them. Exposing yourself to the triggers is, yes, painful, but it ultimately helps you overcome your fears and better manage your anxiety. Avoiding your fears will not make them go away. Avoidance keeps your fears active, and your fears can actually intensify if you avoid them. So, next time you’re planning a trip that requires you to travel by plane, remember to acknowledge your triggers, expose yourself to them, and breathe through it. You’ve got this.

Educate yourself

Besides understanding and exposing yourself to those triggers, educating yourself could also ease your anxiety. For flight anxiety, perhaps learning about how a plane works, studying facts about turbulence, learning about the sounds a plane makes throughout the duration of a flight would help. If none of those methods work, there’s nothing wrong with using an appropriate dose of anti-anxiety medication before a flight. And if you don't want to go that far, essential oils, like Lavender, ease anxiety naturally.

How do you deal with your flight anxiety?