People with a fear of flying tend to spend a lot of time worrying about things that can go wrong. I like to call them the “what if’s” of fear of flying:
- What if we crash?
- What if the plane’s too heavy to get off the ground?
- What if there’s turbulence and the plane can’t take it?
- What if I can’t take it and have a panic attack on board?
- And the ultimate…what if I die?
The Today show featured a segment on seven ways to end worry. From this segment below featuring Trisha Calvo, the executive editor from Shape magazine, I learned that seven million Americans suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. You may not have that problem if you suffer from fear of flying, but you likely have a tendency toward some degree of anxiety.
Worry can make you sick. Time spent in worry is very unproductive. So you may want to try some of these tips to see if they make a difference in your fear of flying anxiety. I’ll summarize them here, but be sure to watch the video below for all the details.
- Bust your worry with exercise.
- Focus on your breathing.
- Cut back or eliminate caffeine.
- Cut back or eliminate alcohol.
- Keep a joy journal.
- Schedule worry time.
- Wean yourself off worry triggers.
The last tip about weaning yourself from triggers is something that a fearful flyer can certainly do. If you find yourself watching You Tube videos about bad landings or turbulence, stop watching! If you’re focused on Googling plane crash statistics, stop that! If you’re dwelling on the details of a particular crash, snap out of it right now!
In other words, avoid the stuff that makes you think flying isn’t safe. Concentrate on a cool flying site instead. Dwell on all the trips taken by the people who are registered on Flight Memory.com. You can track the number of flights taken yesterday (without a crash!), the number of miles flown, and lots of other interesting flight data. And when you yourself become a fearless flyer, you can join and begin to record all your miles!
One of the things Ms. Calvo said on the Today show really hit home with me. She said we should learn to take charge of the things we CAN control and let go of the things we can’t. Like me, fearful flyers admit to being big control freaks, so maybe this is a good piece of advice for all us worry warts and control freaks as we begin the new year. Let’s leave unproductive worry behind in the old year!