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Thread: Overcoming fear of flying?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Overcoming fear of flying?

    Hi all. I'll get straight to the point (thread title): what tips / techniques do you all have to overcome a fear of flying? I've never flown before, and I'm terrified to do so, yet I'm simultaneously excited about flying in the (hopefully fairly near) future. It certainly eliminates a lot of the hassle of driving, especially on a long trip. For example, we went to Florida for vacation in July, and it was a 10-12hr drive. We could easily fly there in 3 1/2-5 hours ... so less than half the drive time! And when you consider the cost of a rental vehicle + fuel costs, among other things, flying is probably often cheaper as well.

    Still, the mere thought of flying instills some fear / anxiety for me. My fiance has flown several times in her life, and so has her 10yr old daughter. My dad flew countless times during his life. And so many people fly every single day, many of them even on a regular basis (e.g. jobs that require frequent travel all over the States).

    I honestly don't know what exactly it is that I fear about flying. Having anxiety, could it simply be the lack of control on my part? Is it the terribly miniscule risk that comes with flying, because anxiety causes us to exaggerate and catastrophize? Is it just because I've never done it before, and flying can feel intimidating until you've done it once or twice?

    I have mildly elevated blood pressure (runs in the family, on both sides), and one episode of afib in 2016. Otherwise, no indication of less-than-good heart health. Once upon a time I thought the BP and / or afib episode disqualified me from flying. Google, however, says otherwise, but of course I'd check with my doctor to get her opinion since she knows my history and state of my current health, and she knows me far better than Google ever will.

    For those of you who fear flying (or used to fear it) how did / do you overcome it? I know many people take a Xanax, Ativan or similar, and I'm perfectly okay with doing so, if needed. What else can help work myself up for flying so that I can enjoy it rather than being terrified when I finally decide to give it a go?

    Thanks much! I'm sure you all will have plenty of tips to share... 😁

  2. #2
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    Re: Overcoming fear of flying?

    Hi

    This is just a courtesy reply to let you know that your post was moved from its original place to a sub-forum that is more relevant to your issue.

    This is nothing personal - it just enables us to keep posts about the same problems in the relevant forums so other members with any experience with the issues can find them more easily.

    Please also read this post:

    http://www.nomorepanic.co.uk/showthread.php?t=213239
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    “Don't be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don't have to live forever, you just have to live.” - Natalie Babbitt

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
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    69

    Re: Overcoming fear of flying?

    Binn Tenn,

    For me it was doing over and over again. I finally got used to it to the point where it doesn't phase me and I actually look forward to it.

    The first time though was hard but I just did some mindfulness exercises and really grounded myself in the present. It also helped to ground myself in cold hard facts such as I'm more likely to die being in a car crash, falling off a ladder, walking down the street, by a falling meteorite, being mauled by a bear...you get the gist. Flying is one of the safest ways to travel. Take a Xanax if needed but sit back, pop in your headphones, watch a movie and enjoy the flight.

    Best Wishes.
    __________________
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    Not a doctor or a psychologist, just a guy who's been to a lot of them.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    87

    Re: Overcoming fear of flying?

    I want to start out by saying flying is 100% unnatural! I used to be extremely afraid of flying, so much in fact, that I turned down 2 trips to Vegas and one trip to Texas. All 3 would have been paid in full by my aunt who wanted to break me of my fear. I know I know. Stupid me. BUT, in August of this year my aunt check mated me by inviting my wife and children in addition to myself to visit her in Oregon. My wife jumped all over it and would not let me back out, so I swallowed my fear along with a 1mg Xanax for the first flight. I won’t lie, I was terrified for the entire 2 hour flight into Atlanta. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time and i refused to look out the window. However, the flight from ATL into Oregon went very smooth. I experienced 0 anxiety. I don’t know what changed... familiarity, just knowing what to expect and that it was safer than my anxiety would allow me to believe, I guess? Maybe take the Xanax with just in case?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    1,434

    Re: Overcoming fear of flying?

    Another nervous flyer here! But I still fly. I used to love it until one very long and very turbulent flight, and then my fear just escalated until I had a gap of about 4 years without flying. It's getting better again now, though I must admit diazepam helps. Get checked by your doctor first though.

    A few tips which can help:

    Book a seat with extra leg room. You'll pay more but it's less claustrophobic. Be aware that these tend to be exit rows and you must be in good health to sit there for takeoff and landing.

    It can be worth paying for priority boarding to avoid standing in queues getting stressed.

    Tell the cabin crew you're nervous when you board. They're always kind and will keep an extra eye on you. The only thing with this is they can get a bit tetchy about you sitting in an exit row, although I just tell them it's fine, and I've never been moved. Don't be afraid to call them during the flight if you're panicking about something. They can explain noises and bumps and things which seem scary if you don't know what they are.

    Distraction is key. Take stuff in your cabin bag to keep you entertained, but nothing that needs much concentration. Music, magazines, puzzles etc. I've found it reassuring to download relaxation exercises before the flight so I know I have them if needed.

    If you feel nervous during the flight, look at others, especially the cabin crew. Mostly you'll find they're walking about, totally calm. If I'm feeling anxious and I see the crew handing out coffees, it reminds me they wouldn't be doing that if there was an imminent catastrophe.

    Avoid too much caffeine or alcohol. Caffeine can increase your heart rate, making you feel more panicky (and makes you pee more), and in my experience, booze makes you feel even less in control. Drink plenty of water as the dry air is dehydrating.

    Know what's helped me? Youtube videos on flying. There are loads about fear of flying, and mostly just people's flight experiences. I think having watched them makes it feel less alien, especially when I've not flown in a while.

    I've had recent flights where I've been pretty much fine, so much so that for the first time in over 10 years, I didn't bother with extra legroom or telling the crew I was nervous. I had a brief moment of anxiety during some turbulence, but watched the crew, and focused on my breathing to slow my heart rate, and all was well.

    Good luck! Hope this helps
    __________________
    'If you're going through hell, keep going' (Winston Churchill)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    596

    Re: Overcoming fear of flying?

    Quote Originally Posted by nomorepanic View Post
    Hi

    This is just a courtesy reply to let you know that your post was moved from its original place to a sub-forum that is more relevant to your issue.

    This is nothing personal - it just enables us to keep posts about the same problems in the relevant forums so other members with any experience with the issues can find them more easily.

    Please also read this post:

    http://www.nomorepanic.co.uk/showthread.php?t=213239
    Thanks! Sorry about that. I completely spaced on the fact that there is a subforum for phobias... 😁


    Thank you to the rest of you as well! I know this is a very common fear. Thanks for sharing your own experiences and tips for flying. I hope to make a flight sooner rather than later, and I want it to be enjoyable as much as possible. We shall see!

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