Top Essential Tips to Cope
Fast forward to when I was 21, I was sitting in a big plane headed to Europe with over 18 hours of flight before me.
When it reached the 4th hour, I was suddenly overwhelmed by crippling fear.
My palms were sweating and I couldn’t relax — and that surprised me. It surprised my friend too who was with me during the flight.
As the roles were reversed with him calming me down in my seat, I tried to analyze my situation. “Okay, what changed here?” Am I suddenly scared of flying because I’ve become more conscious of flight accidents? Of the concept of life and death? Of the fact that there are two strangers flying this plane who I’m placing my life’s fate on?
But I shook my head and told myself that all of that just sounded absurd because I was never bothered by those thoughts before!
When the plane started go through turbulence yet again, I suddenly realized what was wrong: 1 to 3 hours of turbulence was fine — I was programmed to withstand that since childhood — but to stretch the experience for over 18 hours…?
Obviously, that stressed me out and that’s what changed me, and clearly, it suddenly triggered an irrational fear in me.
Besides, I wasn’t well-informed about turbulence either. I just knew that they typically happen but as I sat there for long hours, I wondered…. what is it really about? Does it signal potential danger?
Having absorbed these concerns, every fiber in my being was screaming and yearning for land; I badly wanted to get out in order to clear my thoughts but I was clearly stuck in that flying piece of metal with nowhere to go… Jittery and afraid, I didn’t know what else to do but I clearly didn’t want to inconvenience anyone (bad move of course).
So for the rest of the trip, I just sat there clutching the sides of my seat until my knuckles turned white, telling my friend that I was fine, and letting myself be caged inside my own poisonous thoughts — thoughts that were forming ghastly scenarios while I slowly inched my way towards developing pteromerhanophobia or aviophobia (fear of flying).
When our plane finally landed, my anxiousness naturally subsided… but of course, at that time, I was terribly frustrated.
I absolutely didn’t want to experience that EVER again, nor did I want to fully develop my newfound fear of flying! Besides, I had to take another flight back home after that trip — add the fact that I had more international trips planned for the future. I made the decision to start a travel lifestyle after all because it’s my one true dream; so for sure, I’m not going to let yet another fear stop me!
That’s why starting that day, I took the steps to manage my fear so that it wouldn’t get any worse.
That being said, I bet that you had a different situation that triggered your fear of flying — it could definitely be something worse than mine — but I can assure you that it’s always something that you can cope with, if not overcome.
With the help of the tips below (that I have personally done and of which I have gathered from people who have also managed to overcome fear of flying), it is with my hope that you too can get over this hurdle!
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How to Overcome Fear of Flying
» Find out exactly what you’re afraid of, and then face the facts
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