In the summer months, when so many people go on holiday, quite a few of them have to confront a very common problem; the fear of flying.
Fear of flying can be a big setback in our modern world. It can prevent people from going on holidays that they would love to have, and cause problems at work when work trips are out of the question. People who are desperately afraid of flying can feel deeply ashamed at their inability to cope with an activity that comes to easily to most. They may be ashamed to admit their feelings of fear and anxiety and feel tempted to make up excuses about why they don’t feel up to getting on a plane.
So why is fear of flying so widespread?
Although flying is safer than ever before, whenever there is an air disaster the news channels and newspapers focus for days on the tragic story, endlessly showing us images of grieving relatives and wrecked plane parts. It can be all too easy to imagine oneself caught up in the disaster, and just as easy to assume that plane crashes are much more common than they actually are, simply because of the blanket coverage every incident gets.
At the same time, there’s something about flying, high in the air, that just doesn’t “feel” right. Although travelling in a car is actually much more dangerous, we know that the vehicle is always in contact with the ground, and we can see the horizon, which makes this mode of transport feel safer, even though it isn’t.
Thankfully, there are many ways to manage a fear of flying that can bring it under control. In the short term, a GP or psychiatrist can prescribe a limited dose of a drug such as Valium to assist with unruly emotions. However, for a longer-term approach, techniques such as mindfulness meditation or cognitive therapy can provide us with the tools we need to manage fear that is getting out of hand and preventing us from doing things that we want or need to—such as taking a flight. For fears such as this, which can be overcome and managed with the right approach, resorting to mind-altering medication should never be a long-term approach to the problem.
The first step towards getting one’s fear of flying under control is admitting that it is an issue and that we want to get on top of it. It can be quite a relief to admit it, to discover that there are lots of other people in the same boat, and to learn that there are techniques that can really make a big difference. With patience and the will to overcome the issue, one can get a fear of flying under control.
WHO CAN I SPEAK TO FURTHER ABOUT THE ISSUES IN THIS ARTICLE?
For help with the issues discussed in this article speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.