If you’re one of the 20 million North Americans who have Aviophobia, you probably have a really hard time flying. Whenever you get into an aircraft, your breathing disrupts, your chest tightens, body temperature escalates and you find yourself in the grips of very unpleasant hormonal releases. Fear and panic set in and all you’re left with is a cage of extremely negative thoughts over which you have absolutely no control. The suffering that you have to go through in the next few hours of your flight is nothing less than experiencing hell.
Although you can do very little superficially to deal with this problem, a few common practices and tips can help you at least fly without the insane severity of overwhelmingly negative emotions. For starters, get yourself informed. If you have a fair knowledge of how planes work, what the different noises are, you won’t be as terrified upon hearing, say, an engine roar or the sound of landing gears. Similarly, a slight turbulence shake won’t trouble you as much as it used to before if you know that such movements are natural and are only caused by bad weather. Try to make every effort to reassure yourself about the safety of airplanes. And most importantly, trust the pilots and the crew with their jobs.
While you’re in the plane, try to have some fun with your thoughts. The fact is that you have Aviophobia and every time you step into an airplane, you’ll be consumed by fear or panic or anxiety or all of them. The only thing you can do then is observe yourself, your thoughts and their nature. Try to find out when they arise and why they arise. Eventually, you’ll see that by observing your negative feelings, you’re not giving them fuel to multiply and that they’re reducing in intensity. If all this observing doesn’t work, then simply concentrate your attention on your breath. It has a very calming effect. Or if you know of any other calming meditation, this is the best time to do it.
Alternatively, you could also try some in-flight entertainment to divert yourself. Reading magazines won’t really help because reading requires your mind to be relaxed in the first place, which it will definitely not be when you’re flying with Aviophobia. So try to watch some funny movies or comedy shows if they’re available. Watching a horror movie obviously isn’t recommended. The key is to find a stimulant for pleasantly relaxing sensations.
However, as I said, all the remedies mentioned above are merely superficial and temporary. Unless you enrol in a proper program that deals with this issue on a deep psychological level and tries to treat the problem permanently, you will have to bear this burden every time to travel in a plane. So it’s best to think long term, and get yourself treated permanently as soon as you find an opportunity to do so.
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