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Flight anxiety – fear of flying

When you hear the word flight do you immediately feel: fear, threat, lack of control and unpleasant emotional and physiological feelings, which almost immediately create excuses why you should not fly?

Thoughts and excuses such as: “A vacation in a country that is much more comfortable and safe”, “work that involves traveling abroad is too difficult for me, even though it has promotion” and more אלו

Flight anxiety is a phenomenon that belongs to the family of anxieties and it is very important to treat it.

What is flight anxiety

Flight anxiety is a condition in which the terrible fear before or during the flight leads to significant impairment in functioning. This can be manifested, before the flight when the anxious person expresses a desire to cancel the flight as a result of a multiplicity of fears and thoughts of the worst of all. When the anxious person gets on the plane and its doors close, he feels a paralyzing fear accompanied by physiological sensations of shortness of breath, abdominal pain, tremor, dry mouth and more…

Flight anxiety in the professional literature is considered a phobia, requiring treatment.

What are the reasons for anxiety and fear of flying in the eyes of sufferers

  • They have no control when they are so high in the sky
  • Fear of weather factors – strong winds, air pockets, rains, snow
  • Fear of mechanical malfunctions during flight
  • Fear of an air accident and lack of professionalism of the pilot
  • Deep fear of flying over the ocean
  • Crippling fears during takeoff and landing
  • Other fears that cause flight anxiety: fear of high places, fear of closed places
  • Feeling helpless from lack of control during the flight

How does this affect us?

The very thought of flying evokes reactions that are characterized by stress and anxiety, and are much more extreme during the flight. Flight anxiety affects us in the following ways:

  • Flight anxiety and its physiological effect: accelerated heartbeat, shortness of breath, dry mouth, excessive sweating, headaches, pressure in the ears, abdominal pain, feeling faint
  • Flight anxiety and its psychological effect: negative thoughts that do not let go and raise the threshold of fear of the bitter result that may come. Thoughts that can influence decision making (which is sometimes not right for the same person) The psychological anxiety about the flight can cause the anxious person to take pills in an undesirable amount before boarding the flight.

How to better deal with this type of fear:

  • First and foremost, do not avoid flying. Prevention perpetuates fear and allows it to run our lives and make decisions about our conduct
  • It is recommended to engage our thoughts in activities that require concentration and thinking, such as solving crossword puzzles, watching a movie, memorizing and reading study / work material. Thinking will help repress the fear and reduce its damage
  • Perform breathing exercises as a tool in relieving flight anxiety, before boarding and at takeoff / landing moments: thus making breathing conscious and controlled by diaphragmatic breathing – inflate the abdomen in count to three (as when inflating a balloon) and then slowly contract the abdominal muscles, while To count to six, and exhale air out
  • Guided imagery exercise as an aid in dealing with flight anxiety: Close your eyes and imagine a peaceful and safe, relaxed and non-threatening place. Thus, instead of concentrating on the threat of flight, one turns the consciousness to the safe, open place, and then begins to relax the muscles. When the positive thought has crept into our consciousness and the breathing is calm, one should imagine every organ and limb in the body in a pleasant and protected place. One should start by relaxing the arms and legs and continue mentally conscious about each of the tense organs.