Aerophobia. What to do if you are terribly afraid of flying

This is a serious problem. Fear of flights often prevents us from discovering new cities and countries and just relaxing. What to do with this - we deal with a professional pilot and aviation psychologist, the head of the "Fly Without Fear" center Alexei Gervash.

Let's say right away that there is nothing shameful or abnormal in fear of flying. About 30% of people are afraid to fly, more than 5% because of this completely refuse to fly.

Boxing legend Mohammed Ali nearly ruined his career by refusing to fly to the Olympics. For two hours, the coaches persuaded Ali to take a plane ticket. And the boxer agreed, but only on condition that he would fly, putting on a parachute. This is how our brain works. Neurophysiologists say that we can be afraid from birth.

Amygdala are responsible for fear - areas of the brain that, in simple terms, determine which situations are not ordinary for us and how to respond to them. Flight at an altitude of 10 thousand meters, of course, is not the most common situation for our entire body, hence the corresponding reaction. What to do with this?

Aerophobia. What to do if you are terribly afraid of flying

Photo: shutterstock.


"The plane is the most safe mode of transport. " We hear this phrase so often that it has already ceased to have any meaning at all. Especially for aerophobia. But there are numbers behind it that may surprise you. And maybe even reduce your fears.

On average, around 140 thousand passenger flights are made per day around the world. This is about 48 million flights a year. The annual passenger flow is about five billion people. To see how many planes are in the sky at the moment, just open one of the special services on the Internet (there are several, for example

f163ghtradar24. Com

) and find out not only the number of flights (they really a lot), but also the directions, the speed of the aircraft, the altitude at which they fly.

Unfortunately, air crashes happen. And the statistics on those killed in such disasters is an average of 500 people a year. A lot, of course. But given the annual flow of five billion, one person comes out for 15 million. For comparison, only in Russia in 2015, 23 thousand people died as a result of car accidents.

In the United States alone, an average of 450 people die each year when they fall out of bed.

Aerophobia. What to do if you are terribly afraid of flying

Photo: shutterstock. com

According to statistics, it turns out that the chance of dying on the way to the airport is much higher than in an airplane.

But even knowing this, we are still afraid. We are afraid, if only because we don’t understand how “this huge thing” can stay in the air. Instead of viewing the incident summary once again before your flight, it’s better to read how “everything works out”. And then you will find out that turbulence never caused a plane crash , that an airplane can "chatter" not only in cloudy weather, and that wings fluttering during turbulence and landing are normal and even good , because it is the flexibility of the wing that provides the machine with maximum strength and the ability to withstand heavy loads.

"Nothing depends on me on the plane.

Not like on the ground . If an unforeseen situation arises when I drive in a car, I can always stop "(get out, dodge, slow down - underline what you need). This is what aerophobes most often say, contrasting the situation in the air with situations below. It seems to us that here we are in control, and therefore nothing bad will happen to us. We are used to thinking that if we behave correctly (do not talk with strangers, cross the street into a green light, and do not return home late), we will be completely safe.

Unfortunately, this is an illusion, and a person, no matter how he behaves correctly, is not immune from anything. We are talking about this not to scare you and force you not to leave your home, but to make you understand that there is no complete control not only in flight, but also on the ground. You need to think it over, accept it and learn how to live with it.

Remember that flight for your body is an abnormal situation. Nature did not foresee that we would fly at an altitude of 10 thousand meters.

Hence the numerous errors of the vestibular apparatus, which can scare you a lot. For example, sometimes it seems to us that the plane rolls very sideways when turning. We begin to worry that something is wrong, and mentally prepare for the worst. In fact, it is our own vestibular apparatus that deceives us, and the roll is not as strong as it seems to us.

Aerophobia.</p><p> What to do if you are terribly afraid of flying

Photo: shutterstock. com

Or a strong heartbeat and trembling in the legs. It may seem to you that something is wrong with you, panic may come over you. Here, too, it is better to be aware that trembling in the knees and a heartbeat are the body's reaction to the release of adrenaline.

The body responds to the threat (it doesn’t matter if it’s the real threat or the one you invented) and believes that you need to fight or run away from the threat, so breathing quickens. To alleviate this condition, or at least not worsen it, you need to close your eyes, lean back and do a simple breathing exercise. Inhalation into four counts, breath holding by four counts and exhalation - also into four counts. This will not help cope with aerophobia. But it will help to remove a panic attack here and now.

Do not do those things that seem to help, but on actually only enhance your aerophobia.

  • do not try to escape from fear with the help of alcohol or sleeping pills;
  • do not spend hours on the Internet looking for information about disasters;
  • do not invent signs for yourself.
  • try to understand aerophobia or fear. If, out of fear, you don’t fly, fly with only one (as you think, the most reliable) airline, fly only in business class or not at the window, you have aerophobia. And further.

    If it seems to you that it is right to be afraid of airplanes, because aviation is a very dangerous thing, then you also have aerophobia;

  • do not look for magical means. Nothing can heal your fear of flying instantly. It is best to turn to specialists for help;
  • if you still decide to deal with aerophobia yourself, start by learning how and why airplanes fly;
  • study your own body. Be prepared for how your body can behave during flight;
  • download special applications for aerophobes.
  • do not let your body strain, close your eyes and consciously relax your muscles (as in meditation);
  • normalize breathing with the help of simple breathing exercises;
  • concentrate on your inner feelings and try to stop trying to find out about the situation in the cabin by the faces of the stewardesses, and also allow yourself not to follow the sounds that the plane makes;
  • mentally imagine the scale of your anxiety.

    It may look like a thermometer or numbers on a scoreboard with a gradation of one to ten. Imagine how your level of anxiety decreases on a scale;

  • as soon as the first signs of panic have been eased, switch to something that will occupy your attention - a book, work, film, conversation with a neighbor or even just breakfast .


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