How to overcome the fear of flying
Hello everybody! I’m very excited to share my very first blog article with you today. And be sure – the headline doesn’t promise to much! I’m going to tell you right now how you can overcome the fear of flying.
Let’s make the check: You arrive sweaty to business meetings abroad? You become nervous when the topic „next holidays“ comes up? While on a plane, you jump at the slightest bump of turbulences? Before you’re forced to fly you feel sick and nervous? If any of those sound familiar you experience a certain amount of flying anxiety – just like 40 % of all Americans – or just like me, three years ago.
Who am I?
My name is Louis and I’m the creator of Wingz. A long time I was afraid to fly myself and I’ve been through all of it. I have been flying for business purposes and tourism for the last fifteen years and I’ve to be honest, I’ve never been comfortable in a plane. I was always stressed before and during my flights. When my career started to require me to fly almost every week, my life became unbearable. It became even worse when I was unlucky enough to end up on a flight that had turbulences so rough that the toilet doors were slamming open and closed and the beverage cart was left in the middle of the plane’s hallway. This was a turning point for me in my fear of flying! Since that flight, each time I took a plane I felt sick before and during the flight. I had a stomach ache, sweaty hands, and felt completely exhausted after we landed, just as if I ran a marathon.
Of course, this started to affect me and my work. I was postponing meetings if I needed to fly. I would try to bring customers or colleagues to me instead of me to them. For vacations, it was the same. I was restricting my choices of vacation destinations to the ones where I could drive, and often wasted precious vacation days in a car when I could have been on a beach or relaxing! The worst part was that it was impossible for me to rationalize why I was afraid. My fear changed constantly from fear of crashing, turbulence and technical issues, to not being in control and hearing weird noises in the aircraft. It was everything!
Then in 2010, after three months of heavy travelling, I decided that I could not continue like this. I wanted to be able to get where I want without arriving like a nerve wrack. I wanted to overcome the fear of flying and get back in control. That’s when I started to do a lot of research about the fear of flying and how I eventually can get over it. I read in forums, books, spoke to pilots, flight assistants, psychologists and many many people who felt like I did.
Now I like to introduce to you the 3 major lessons that helped me to overcome the fear of flying and finally changed my life. You can find very detailed explanations and two additional lessons in my Guide “How to overcome the fear of flying” that I’ve created for you. This is an excerpt of what you’ll learn:
1) Get to know your fear of flying
Knowledge is power. In order to control and tackle your fear you need to understand it. If you know what happens in your brain when your fear starts you can better react and learn to control it.
What happens when we fear?
Biologically speaking, when we experience fear, certain areas in our brain such as the amygdala are immediately activated. The amygdala is the part of our brain where fear memories and responses are stored and therefore it controls the first physical response to fear. When we fear, Adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol are being released which cause those unpleasant physical reactions we experience, such as increased sweating, rapid heart rate or tightening of our muscles.
The good news are that we’re not defenceless when this happens. We can actively encourage a counter reaction. And I tell you how: What we want to achieve when this happens is to produce the hormone oxytocin, which banishes fearful thoughts. We can achieve this when we think about very pleasant and fulfilling moments. This is very subjective, but what normally works well is to imagine the first time you held your baby in your arms or the way your loved one looks at you. And if you’re less romantic you can also envision how your dog looks at you – as if you were the only person in the world that matters. The important thing is that you envision a very strong fulfilling moment in order to trigger positive emotions. Practice this a few times before your next flight so you have your picture ready. Now let’s dig deeper:
What is fear?
That’s how Wikipedia defines it:
Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
We all know that fear is unpleasant, right. But what is particularly interesting, it’s our belief that something is dangerous that triggers fear. Whether or not the threat is real, we believe it is, so we feel fear. Here comes the good news. We can learn more about what we classify as threat and naturally fear will subside. When an unfamiliar and therefore scary situation becomes well known, we no longer need to fear. When we know that those noises in an airplane are necessary and don’t mean anything is wrong, we can be more relaxed. Through education we can actively modify our belief system. That’s amazing, don’t you think? Well, I can certainly say that this was one of the most crucial lessons I learned and it leads us directly to our next lesson:
2) Understand how pilots are trained and planes work
As said before we often fear what we don’t understand. The same way we should educate us about nutrition when we want to lose weight, we should find out more about how aircraft works when we want to overcome the fear of flying.
Did you know that crewmembers make safety-related errors on 82% of all flights, with an average of 3 mistakes per flight? Now don’t panic. That’s actually a good thing. It means that pilots, flight attendants and airplanes don’t have to perform perfectly in order to get you safely to your destination. There’s room for error without a bad ending.
Have you ever heard about the FAA – the Federal Aviation Administration? The FAA is responsible for the safety, efficiency and security of the entire aviation system of the US. Their slogan is „Safety over All“ and they take it very seriously. Moreover the entire staff that works in aviation is very well trained, that includes air traffic controllers, aircraft mechanics, flight attendants and of course the pilots. The training of a pilot is long, costly and intense. Not because flying is so complicated, but because pilots are trained on how to handle every possible situation that could happen on a flight. Before pilots start to fly for a major airline they already have thousands of hours, years of experience and various certifications on their back. And this is all done for your safety. If you want to learn more about how a plane functions and where all those noises during a flight are coming from, check out my detailed Guide about how to overcome the fear of flying.
3) Learn how you can calm down before and during the flight
Even when you understand your fear better and know more about aircraft your fear won’t be blown away from one minute to the other. It’s no magic and the human being needs some positive experience in order to reset a set mindset. Therefore it’s good to have some techniques and methods that help you to relax before and during the flight. Here are some personal recommendations that work well for me and according to happy customers of Wingz:
Prepare and plan
Even though I like to do things last minute it really makes a difference when you take care of your holiday shopping the week before, pack your suitcase two days in advance and put all you need for leaving to the airport on your kitchen table. Sounds simple, but it really makes life easier. The less stressed you arrived at the airport the better. Promise!
Distraction is key
Normally you think it’s embarrassing to read celebrity magazines in the public but you actually enjoy them? Perfect! Than make sure you equip yourself with the latest hot news before you get on the plane. Alternatively you can also bring that book you can’t put away. Now you have some time where you can enjoy some time for yourself. And if music changes your mood immediately then create a calming playlist with your favorite good mood songs for your trip. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference it can make to listen to the right tune.
Control your imagination
The visualization ability of your mind is great, if you want to envision yourself lying on the beach and enjoying the sunset, but it doesn’t come in handy when you’re on a plane. Next time when you hear an unfamiliar noise stop your mind imagining what could be wrong. Instead retrieve what you’ve learned about aviation and breath deeply. In my Guide how to overcome the fear of flying you’ll find a checklist where those different noises during a flight are described. Print it out and take it with you. If you’re still worried after reading the chapter about aviation, you can ask a flight attendant if everything is ok.
Those are lessons that helped me and over 150 people who were afraid to fly – just like you.
Back in 2010, when I decided to beat my fear of flying I quickly realized that it’s not easy. I was looking for a solution that could help me to overcome the fear of flying faster and easier. I stumbled across alcohol, sleeping pills (which I’ve tried) and Xanax (which I didn’t want to try). But I couldn’t find anything natural without side effects.
In order to make it easier for myself to overcome the fear of flying I’ve created Wingz. Wingz is a unique blend of natural supplements, such as Passionflower and Valerian, that makes you feel more relaxed and less stressed on a plane without experiencing side effects. Wingz has changed my flying experience drastically. That’s why I wanted to share with you what works for me – and for hundreds of happy customers. I now look forward to visiting new destinations that before seemed out of reach.
I hope my lessons helped you to overcome your fear of flying. You can find all details in my Guide „How to overcome the fear of flying.“
Now I’d love to hear your lessons: What are your special techniques and tricks that help you to feel more relaxed before or during a flight?
Image Credit: Corey Seeman