Imagine being able to book a plane ticket to New York, Mumbai, Paris, the Dominican or Tokyo. The days and nights leading up to the trip, you are calm and able to sleep soundly.
Once on board, ready for take-off, picture yourself sitting back comfortably and feeling nothing but calm. While in-flight, you look out the window and see the ocean, archipelagos, blue sky and clouds.
Although you are scared of flying now, these images WILL soon become a reality.
Think deeply about how your life would specifically improve if you conquer fear of flying.
Is it because you have dreamt of traveling somewhere faraway? Do you wish you could visit friends or family across the country? Is it for professional reasons? Do you wish to be freed by the grips of phobia?
Whatever your desires, let these be your inspiration to start your challenging, yet fulfilling, recovery from your flying anxiety.
If you are afraid of flying, chances are it is not flying in general, but something associated with boarding and traveling on a plane. It is important for you to explore this in depth.
Did you have a traumatic experience on board a plane? Do you feel closed in when sitting in aircraft seats? Are you worried about freaking out and making a fool of yourself? Are you scared that the plane will crash?
Fear of flying phobia sometimes develops out of having a panic attack on a plane or in a similar environment. Panic attacks are frightening.
They may make you feel like you are choking or having a heart attack. Your heart might start racing, you may tremble, feel dizzy or numb, have trouble breathing or experience an “out-of-body” sensation.
Your fear of flying stems from not wanting to have these uncomfortable panic attacks ever again.
But by acknowledging that they are indeed panic attacks, and not threats to your sanity or life, you can teach your subconscious brain that you are not in danger the next time you have one.
Fear of flying help includes exposing yourself to what you are afraid of. This does not mean you have to board a plane right away.
You can practice in the comfort of your own home, and visualize a plane ride. Specifically you can imagine the particular component you identified that makes you scared of flying.
Sit in a quiet place, close your eyes and allow all your senses to envisage yourself as a passenger. If you start to feel anxiety or panic, stay with it, because these scary feelings will eventually go away.
If you expose yourself to your triggers everyday, each exposure will become easier to deal with, and the less anxious you will become. This is one, of several, fear of flying tips.
After visualization exercises at home, you will eventually be ready to take actual flights, starting with short trips. This too will probably cause some anxious symptoms, or possibly a panic attack.
But you can be rest assured, just as your anxiety decreased during the simulations, it too will subside on a real flight.
Another help for fear of flying is using diversion tactics. If you are experiencing anxiety aboard a flight, in anticipation of a trip, or in any area of your life that makes you panic, change your focus. This means to change or distract your anxious thoughts.
Let’s say you are sitting on a plane waiting for take-off. You could count how many people on the plane are wearing glasses or you could try to guess where everyone is from.
Do a crossword puzzle, write a poem or journal entry, sketch your destination or chat with your neighbor.
If you are panicking the night before your flight, you could call a friend, organize your movie collection in alphabetical order or go for a walk to take pictures.
It does not matter what activity you choose as long as it involves the conscious part of your brain. By concentrating your mind on another activity, there will be no room for anxious thoughts.
Not only can you adjust your thoughts to relax; you can also modify your body. Breathing is a key indicator that tells whether the body is calm.
While sitting straight in a chair, see if you can inhale slowly, hold your breath for a few seconds and then exhale slowly. Keep count so you can completely focus on your breathing.
Try doing up to ten breaths at a time. If you still feel stress, continue breathing.
Further relax your body by doing a head-to-toe stretch. Start with loosening up your facial muscles and rolling your neck. Roll your shoulders, stretch your arms, and squeeze your hands and release.
Continue relaxing the rest of your body. Do a body scan and identify if any muscle is tense. Remove this tension.
By coupling breathing with stretching exercises, your mind and body can both become relaxed.
You do not only have to practice this during a flight or airplane simulation; make it an everyday practice to avoid anxiety in all situations.
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