Man looking upset on plane
Overcome Your Fear Of Flying With These Tips From A Psychologist
We recently spoke to Dr. Janina Scarlet, a clinical psychologist, about why some people are afraid to fly, the causes of this fear, and the steps you can take to overcome it.
Dr. Scarlet says a common reason people are afraid to fly is "not being in control, such as the fear of having a panic attack and not being able to leave."
Loss Of Control
She continues, "The bigger issues really have to do with feeling out of control with worrying about maybe passing out [...] or being uncomfortable with tight spaces."
This fear can manifest with "an increased heart rate, feelings of dizziness [... or] tightening all over their body," Dr. Scarlet says.
To alleviate symptoms of anxiety, Dr. Scarlet states, "When we're having a panic attack, one of the best things we can do to manage the situation is to focus on our breath."
Dr. Scarlet works with her clients to overcome flight anxiety through visualization exercises, virtual reality exposure, and, eventually, flying with them.
People have different needs when having a panic attack, so ask your seatmate if they need a distracting conversation, privacy, or a hand to hold.
Touch can be helpful in some cases. Dr. Scarlet explained, "When we have somebody holding our hand [...] our body releases [...] oxytocin that creates a soothing effect."