For those who suffer from aerophobia – a fear of flying – my heart goes out to you as I know how debilitating it can be. So many times we have gone to book holidays abroad only for me to cancel last minute due to feeling anxious and physically sick.
If there's one thing I love about blogging it's sharing stories in the hopes it can help, inspire or relate to something someone else might be going through. So how did I get from a shaking leaf to my first solo flight within a few months? Here are my top five tips of how to crush your fear of flying and explore the world.
1. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.
So although this sounds rather simple and for those who have a crippling fear and think this quite ridiculous, stick with me. Planning to overcome a fear by taking the plunge doesn't always work but planning a flight and booking a date in the future as a goal to work towards is a bit different. Committing to overcoming your fear and giving you the motivation to work towards changing your view on flying is always going to help. Give yourself a few months to play with.
2. Get Help.
No one said overcoming a phobia was easy and you shouldn't have to do it alone. During my months before take off I booked three hypnotherapy sessions and also some acupuncture to ground myself. Hypnotherapy works by rewiring your thought processes attached to flying and helps alleviate the triggers. I was quite skeptical that this would work but went along anyway, my trigger was the sensation of take off and turbulence, which would make me think we would fall out of the sky. Once it came to the flight the anxiety surrounding take off melted away and the panic sensations that I would normally feel didn't surface.
3. Use Relaxation Techniques.
Using deep relaxation techniques can calm your mind and your body to help alleviate anxiety. While at home listen to Yoga Nidra, a sleep like state used when meditating. You can find various versions on You Tube and you can also download it to your phone to listen to before take off.
4. Choose Your Seat.
There's lots of talk about where the safest seat on a plane is, but when booking your flight it always helps to book your seat. What would make you feel better? Claustrophobic? Sit near an emergency exit. Turbulence? Sit in front of the wing. Fear of heights? Sit in an aisle seat or find a row with no window. Planning your seat take allows you to feel in control of your flight, which in turn can ease anxiety.
Not everyones cup of tea, but if all else fails using a prescribed drug such as Diazepam can help suppress your anxiety by acting as a nerve calming agent. If you use this for your first flight you can ease yourself into flying, lowering the dose until you have mastered your fear.
So that's it in a nutshell, I used all of these techniques to help me get my wings and I can't wait to start planning trip for 2015. How do you feel when flying?