Fear of flying
What does summer mean to you? School holidays perhaps, picnics with friends, an improvement on the weather, and for many people, a holiday abroad. All great things to look forward to. Except of course, if you suffer from an immobilising fear of flying.
It’s remarkable just how many of us have anxieties relating to air travel – some have always experienced them, others have developed fears as a result of a specific event. Whatever the symptoms you suffer – heart pounding, feeling nauseous, experiencing panic attacks or being physically unable to move – none are conditions to relish during summer travel.
Facing the fear
How then can we tackle the anxieties attached to flying? Are there any quick-fix solutions? Any cheat notes that we can follow to get us into flying-fit-shape for the summer? Well, immediate might seem unlikely but there are certainly some steps that we can suggest to help you manage your flying fears, and hopefully, gradually, move forward while you leave them behind.
Information, information, information
It seems simple but many of us know surprisingly few facts about flying. For example, are we aware of just how infrequently engines actually fail? Or the fact that aircrafts are built to embrace turbulence, and the movements we feel inside the aircraft are simply the plane’s reaction to soft wind and nothing to fear? Or did we understand the truly rigorous training that airline pilots go through before being in charge of our flights? These and all other details that might serve to set our minds at rest are invaluable. Why not spend some time swatting up on the facts, as it’s widely understood that arming yourself with this information can offer you a sense of security when the anxiety comes knocking.
What is it exactly that you don’t like about flying? It’s important to move past the general feeling of anxiety and push yourself to identify what exactly it is that effects you? Is it the take off? The feeling of being out of control? A fear of heights? A loathing of confined spaces? There can be many triggers. Once you can identify exactly what it is that bothers you, it is easier to design a response specific to that.
Target background anxiety
Many of us suffer general anxieties on a day-to-day basis. Some of us more than others. And studies show that if you are someone who experiences a higher level of non-specific anxiety that you carry around all day, every day, it’s more likely that you’ll respond negatively to anxiety-rich experiences such as flying.
Try finding a relaxation technique that will allow you a period of mindful meditation each day. Life is busy but if you can even carve out a few minutes, allow yourself the time to relax your mind and cut back on the general worries that you are managing day-to-day. Chipping away at those anxieties daily, should positively impact your negative feelings about flying.
Distract and distract again
There are plenty of distraction options and ‘mind reprogramming tools’, whether it’s pinging an elastic band around your wrist every time you experience negative feelings about flying, using memories that consistently bring you joy, or focusing on specific hand exercises throughout a flight. Look into something that suits you and rely on it each time.
Perhaps you’ll respond best to being in control of as many aspects relating to your trip as possible? Make sure you book an exit seat in advance if that gives you increased security, double check your documents and any essentials (headphones, music etc.), or perhaps you find listening to encouraging podcasts and mind management recordings will have a more immediate impact? Whatever the hook is that clicks for you, remember it, and use it time and time again. Soon the distraction methods will come as second nature.
Once you have beaten your fear, or you’re on the road to that, fly, fly, and fly again. The more you use your techniques in practice and the more you normalise the thing that once used to terrify you, the easier it will become. And, with luck, could allow you to fly with less fear, and actually enjoy those holiday plans you’ve spent so much time putting together.
Abbey Insurance Brokers
We hope you will be able to enjoy your summer travel with confidence. If you’re planning a short break or a summer holiday, give our expert Insurance Advisors a call on 08000 66 55 44 for a Travel Insurance quote, to make sure you’re covered for the unexpected. You can also get a quote and instant cover online here.