Fright or Flight?

Fright or Flight?

I’m going on holiday soon and I’m sat here thinking about the ten hour flight I’ve got to take before I get there.

I can feel my heart rate has increased, I’m getting butterflies and a churning in my stomach, I’m getting hot as my blood pressure increases and I’m noticing as I type this that my hands are getting a little sweaty and I’m breathing more rapidly.


Sorry, did you think I was describing nervous feelings or maybe that I had a flying phobia?

Did you perhaps recognise those physical sensations yourself?

Isn’t it strange how the physical sensations for fear and nervousness are so similar to those of excitement and anticipation?

People who are scared of flying will generally experience physical sensations, play movies in their minds of how awful they think the flight is going to be or tell themselves unhelpful things.

These, of course, are all very powerful methods of keeping that fear of flying.

So how do we start to conquer our fears?

Relax and distract

First, avoid caffeine as this will replicate the feelings associated with anxiety.

Instead drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Breathe deeply and as often as you can.

Watch the in flight film, read or listen to music on your headphones.

This will allow you to be distracted and to block out aircraft noise.

Create your own psychological oasis.

Know your facts

We’ve all heard that flying is the safest form of transport, but just how safe?

Well, it’s estimated that you would have to take a flight every day for 30,000 years before you are likely to be in a fatal air crash!

Also, statistically, you’re more likely to be killed by a falling coconut than in a plane.

Eye up the Cabin Crew

If you’re worried during the flight or hit turbulence, keep one eye on the Cabin Crew’s faces.

Notice how calm they remain; they are the ones with experience and are in the know.

While they look calm, you’re safe!

If it’s a full blown phobia seek help

Finally, if your fear is really intense, then you might consider flying therapy.

You can book on a fear of flying course at most major airports or seek the help of a therapist.

If ever there was a fear worth beating then this is it.

There’s a great big world to explore out there.

So keep calm and enjoy your flight!

Fright or Flight? - Mark Darlington

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