Day 22 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

Fear of Flying

If this photo makes your heart race and your palms sweat, you might have a fear of flying.

If this photo makes your heart race and your palms sweat, you might have a fear of flying.

I have always been afraid of heights, but when I think about any time that I have flown in an airplane, I know that I don’t have the fear of flying. I have been on big 757s and I have been on small prop planes. Statistically, flying on planes is safer than riding on a school bus.  I have never felt uncomfortable flying. For me, the lift off and landings remind me of riding in an elevator. I love looking out the window and seeing clouds beside me and patches of green below. I especially love seeing the irrigation circles when flying over the great plains.

However, not everyone is as confident flying as I am. About 25% of Americans are afraid to fly. Some people feel paralyzed at the thought of flying in an airplane, but Captain Ron Nealson, retired Air Force pilot turned “plane whisperer”, host of classes to help people deal with the anxiety of flying states that several techniques can help make flying less stressful for the most timid flyer. He has several suggestions concerning how to overcome the fear of flying.

First it helps to realize that airplane maintenance is highly regulated. I remember several years ago when I was supposed to catch specific flight and it was canceled. The reason the flight was canceled, I was informed was because of a problem with one of the wings. Who could get upset with that? I would much rather wait until I could get on a plane that didn’t have problems with the wings. Some people would have felt anxious about the fact that a plane had wing difficulties. I felt reassured that the maintenance crew were paying attention to detail.

The second thing you can do to help take your mind off of the anxiety during the flight is to bring something to do on the flight to distract you from the idea that you are in the air. Have audio or print books, music, watch a movie, or do something else that will distract you from the fact that you are on an airplane. It almost goes without saying that not sitting in a window seat would also be very helpful.

Third, avoid drinking alcohol and don’t take any pills that are supposed to take the edge off. Many times these substances increase the anxiety rather than decreasing them.

The final piece of advice that Neilson offers is for any person suffering from anxiety of hyperventilating while on the plane is for that individual to breath through a straw for a couple of minutes. By breathing through a straw for a couple of minutes when a flight first takes off, for about 90 percent of individuals, the panic lifts and anxiety is diverted. the straw artificially restricts the air inhaled and exhaled and slows the breathing naturally. It reduces the chance for hyperventilating in the first place.

About the Author

2014-04-07 07.07.08Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 22 Overcoming Fear Challenge ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown