Air travel has become an important and enjoyable part of life today. However, not all the people fancy roaming above the ground in a plane because of aerophobia. This is abnormal fear of flying in a plane even when there are no logical indicators that there is a threat. The fear can have huge impacts on your life, especially if you are required to make regular flights.
In this post, we dig deeper into aerophobia to establish what it is, symptoms and causes. In addition, we will list natural methods that you can use to defeat aerophobia.
What is Aerophobia?
Aerophobia is one of the common phobias today. It is a form of intense fear that people develop when they are flying or preparing to fly. The fear may seem rational, but it gets worse when people suffering from the disorder start experiencing physical symptoms and even trauma.
The problem is estimated to affect approximately 20 million in the U.S. the affected persons feel uncomfortable especially during take-offs or when the plane is going through turbulence. In some cases, they end up suffering from panic attacks and avoiding flying completely.
If you have aerophobia, the symptoms can vary depending on severity. There are some people who suffer from mild anxiety prior to travelling by plane while others experience severe anxiety including panic attacks. Here are the common symptoms:
- Intense fear along with negative thoughts about flying. Most people have images of past crashes they saw or were involved in and keep thinking how similar scenarios might unfold.
- When waiting for a plane, you are likely to experience visible discomfort such as shaking and sweating.
- Confusion in the mind. You find yourself unable to think straight because the negative thoughts are telling you of a possible crash while your mind is unsure about it. It is like you are in a dilemma of getting into the plane or walking away.
- Aggression at people when preparing for a flight. At home, you might get unnecessarily angry at family members and combative at the airport staff.
- Development of panic attacks. These can be accompanied by other physical symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, chest pain, clammy hands, abdominal uneasiness, and frequent urination.
If the problem is not addressed, you are likely to start avoiding air travel and anything associated with flying such as airports.
The causes of aerophobia are not specific and vary from one person to another. Here are some of the common causes of the problem:
In most of the cases, aerophobia arises from experiencing a traumatic experience related to traveling in a plane. This could be something like a plane crash or hijacking that you watched on television. If you hear or witness a person who went through a harmful aircraft event, the negative images can get embedded into your mind and cause fear every time that you plan to fly.
If you suffer from other forms of anxiety, they can easily trigger aerophobia. Fear of flying is closely linked to fear of confined spaces (claustrophobia) and fear of heights (acrophobia). In some cases, people who have fear of social situations (social phobia) and fear of panicking when in public spaces (agoraphobia) could also develop aerophobia.
To reduce the risk of suffering from fear of flying, it is important to start by addressing these causative phobias. Indeed, most of the methods used to address the phobias can also help to treat fear of flying. A good example is learning relaxation techniques.
Lack of Control
For some people who are used to being in control, getting into a plane where everything is in the hands of a pilot can cause fear of flight. The problem can become more emphasized especially in a place where it is difficult to trust staff and other employees. Your brain is likely to ask questions such as “what if they are doing it wrong” and “what if the pilot causes a crash.”
Staying or Flying with a Person Suffering from Fear of Flying
If you live with a parent having severe aerophobia, it is possible to pick and replicate the same fear. The problem can also happen if you stay next to a person with fear of flying. To avoid picking the same problem from guardians, it is important to learn about anxiety and how aircrafts fly.
If there is a person in your family who suffered from fear of flying, you are also at a higher risk of experiencing the same condition. It is a form of natural instinct that is passed from one generation to another in a family.
How to overcome (naturally)
The good thing about aerophobia is that you can overcome it naturally. You should consider combining several strategies to overcome aerophobia faster. Here are some of the best methods to overcome and enjoy every flight.
Identify the Aerophobia Triggers that Set You Off
If you can identify the main cause of fear when you are about to fly, it will be easy to overcome it. The target is noting the specific triggers so that you can turn them off. For example, is it the roaring of the plane or just the sight of the mammoth plane? For example, you can wear your headphones to enjoy cool music so that the loud blast will not affect you.
Learn about the Basics of how a Plane Flies
One fact that you need to appreciate when seeking to counter aerophobia is that anxiety thrives more in ignorance. In most of the cases, your mind will be filled with “what if” that target to paste a negative image. However, perusing through planes’ flight procedures reports will show that airport staff, flight attendants, and pilots are highly trained. Besides all planes are tested to the limit and you can trust them to fly you safely to the targeted destination. The plane waiting to fly you is simply the best!
Separate Feelings From Danger
Notably, when your body is experiencing danger or anxiety, it reacts in the same way. Though this can be a little hard to separate, you need to appreciate that emetophobia only happens in the mind. Therefore, you should label emetophobia as anxiety. Simply tell the mind that anxiety makes you frightened but does not mean there is any danger. This implies that even if you have anxiety, you are safe. This will help to calm your body and finally overcome aerophobia.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
One of the best methods of overcoming anxiety is learning how to relax. When the plane roars on the runway, take a deep breath and keep your mind relaxed. This will help to lower your heart rate and calm the mind. After a few minutes, you will realize that indeed thoughts of something sinister happening only occurred in the mind and were not real. This realization will be your awakening. Make sure to practice relaxation techniques because they can help you address most forms of anxiety.
Travel More Often
The biggest mistake that people with aerophobia make is staying away from flying. Though it is frightening, staying away will only affirm your negative thoughts. However, taking more flights will help you to face the problem and ultimately discover that there is no harm associated with flying. Even if you saw a plane that crashed ten years ago, that does not in any way link to your upcoming flight.
Focus on Positive Things about your Air Travel
For people who are required to travel regularly, it is important to look at the positive side of using a plane. While it is true that you have fear of flying, think about the positive side of it. Take some time to write down the great things you will do such as represent your company, do some shopping, meet new friends, and sample great delicacies. These will become your new driving force and will easily overcome the negative thoughts.
If you find that overcoming aerophobia is a huge challenge, do not suffer alone. You need to talk to a psychologist. Most experts use cognitive behavioral therapy that demonstrates the cycle of anxiety and how to break it. Once you understand that aerophobia simply seeks to pin you down, the experts can help you overcome the emotions.
If you suffer from aerophobia, the problem can greatly affect your personal and professional life. Whether you are planning to fly as a job requirement or holiday, fear of flying can make preparation and flight time a nightmare. However, this post has demonstrated that it is possible to address the problem naturally.
Note that the secret to defeating fear is to understand that anxiety has tricked your commonsense such that you can only think of how the plane will crash. The outlined seven remedies can help you to rewire the mind by replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones. Do not let the fear of flying stand on your way anymore!