Although it is well known that air travel is safer than car travel, aerophobia, or aviation phobia, is one of the most common phobias of modern life and affects many of the population. About 1 in 10 people are believed to be affected. André Viljoen, a former commercial airline pilot and his manager of logistics at Artemis Aerospace, offers some positive advice to take the worry out of your next flight.
Whiston, England , January 16, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — As a former commercial pilot, it was not uncommon to hear stories of passengers experiencing anxiety or panic attacks during flights. It can be a harrowing experience for patients and unnerving for fellow travelers.
Most of us know that our fear of flying is irrational. Statistics consistently show that air travel is much safer than other modes of transport. According to the latest statistics from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), in 2021 there will be 2.14 accidents per 1.93 million scheduled departures worldwide, resulting in 104 fatalities. ICAO Secretary General, Juan Carlos Salazarsaid statistics once again confirmed that “air transport is the safest mode of transport.”
Compare this to traveling by road. UK In 2021 alone, 927 road users will die and more than 65,000 will be injured in road accidents. Worldwide, more than 1.35 million people die in road accidents every year.
Statistics aside, there is something about air travel that continues to make passengers uneasy. Perhaps it’s the claustrophobia of the cabin, the underlying anxiety about traveling so far from home, or even an in-flight safety demonstration that pushes people off limits.
So how do we deal with this very real problem? These six practical strategies have been proven to help people reduce the fear that accompanies flying.
The age-old advice to “face your fears” can really help you overcome your phobias. low can be known.
Under the guidance of a trained therapist, an exposure-based program introduces techniques to reduce pre-flight anxiety. After several sessions, the therapist may accompany the client on a flight or flight-her simulator. However, with the development of virtual reality, the client can now wear her VR headset to mimic the conditions on board the plane. This is a much cheaper but very effective option.
Many people who fear airplanes admit to being baffled by how air travel works. “How can this big hunk of metal climb into the sky?” is a common question. Educating yourself on the principles of aviation is of great help. You can conduct your own research online or, even better, book a dedicated course aimed at treating aerophobia. Many airlines run such programs with a high success rate. doing. For example, British Airways’ Flying With Confidence course, run by BA pilots and flight attendants and supported by clinical psychologists, has a 98% success rate.
meditation and deep breathing
Combined with deep breathing exercises, meditation can be easily done by repeating positive words or affirmations such as ‘calm down’ or ‘I am safe’ for 1-2 minutes before boarding the plane. . No need to cross your legs and chant in a dark room! Breathe in deeply through your nose so that you feel your abdomen expand, not your chest. Exhale slowly to empty all the air from your lungs. Repeat 5-6 times, then return to normal breathing.
You don’t have to close your eyes to meditate. Not to mention affirming it out loud. You can just “speak” the words in your head while waiting in the departure lounge or at the gate. Repeat this technique if you start to panic after boarding.
voice your fear
Let your traveling companions know how you feel. Storing anxiety tends to lend them more power. When booking your flight, request a ‘I’m afraid to fly’ note when booking so the flight attendants can take care of you. You can also exchange quiet words with the flight attendants as you board the plane. Sometimes just expressing fear and knowing that people are sympathetic can keep panic at bay.
Download your favorite podcasts and playlists before your flight (not all airlines have in-flight Wi-Fi). Puzzles, crosswords, and comforting TV shows can also distract you when you start feeling stressed. It is important to know the correct procedures in case of an accident. After watching the demo, you should feel safer, not less safe!
Self-medication with alcohol is not recommended as it can cause dehydration, nausea, headaches and brain fog. All of these can increase anxiety. It’s also wise not to consume too much caffeine before a flight.
Your doctor may be able to prescribe anti-anxiety medications, but research shows that medications such as benzodiazepines can backfire, causing addiction and increased long-term stress. If possible, try non-drug techniques such as mindful breathing and meditation, or herbal remedies available at health food stores. Remember to check with your doctor first to see if you are already taking any medications prescribed for you.
2022 ICAO safety report shows positive results
Reported traffic casualties England: casualties and deprivation – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Global Road Safety Statistics | Brakes
Fear of Flying (Aerophobia or Aerophobia) Fact Sheet (Instant Download) – Anxiety UK
How do our brains process fear? Research study (medicalnewstoday.com)
Fly with confidence | Special needs | British Airways
How to overcome your fear of flying – BBC Future
Anxiolytics and Flight | Psychology Today
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