One of the most common fears is the fear of flying. It is quite understandable. Not only is the actual act of flying frightening to some people, the whole airport process leading up to the actual flight is enough to cause anxiety in the most experienced flyer.
Anxiety disorder is associated with constant and overwhelming worry and fear. A lot of times, these symptoms are related to everyday things, like being in a crowd of people. When it pertains to flying, the worry and fear is there related to an event that is on a very strict schedule. You have to get to the airport a certain amount of time before your flight and hope you don’t hit traffic. Then there is the check-in process followed almost immediately by security. After getting through the ordeal of security, all you have is time to wait until your plane boards and takes off. There is nothing about this process that lends itself to maintaining calm if you are a person who suffers from anxiety or had a specific fear of flying.
Once on the plane, the generalized anxiety can turn into sudden period of extremely intense fear. This panic attack is accompanied by a pounding heart, palpitation and a suddenly increased heart rate.
If you know you are about to be in this situation there are things you can do to circumvent the anxiety and the panic. Reducing the stress that leads to the anxiety starts on the ground and may even start months prior to flying.
What are your triggers? Are you worried about packing? Are you worried about getting to the airport? Does security cause you to get anxious? There are easy things you can do for these things, like make lists, print your boarding passes early or order a car service to get you to the airport. You can look into things that make getting through security easier, like applying for the TSA Pre Check.
If you are already at the airport there are also things you can do. The big thing is to get control of your breathing. Slow methodical breathing helps control panic. Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold it for 3 seconds and breath out slowly for 7 seconds and repeat the process. Hyperventilation is a huge issue related to panic. By taking control of your breathing you are keeping the panic attack at bay.
There are also several distraction techniques you can use such as talking to someone you are traveling with, making sure you are comfortable in your seat or keeping your mind active through reading or playing games.
There are ways to get through your flight while managing your anxiety. What these techniques do not address is the underlying issue of why you are experiencing the anxiety in the first place. You may think that this fear of flying is just something you have to deal with every time you fly. I can tell you it is not. I can work with you to get to the root cause of the anxiety. You don’t have to live with fear, anxiety or panic.