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People often assume they are alone in their fear of flying. Statistics, however, suggest that as many as one in six people are nervous flyers. These statistics may be helpful since one realizes that one is not isolated in one’s fear. There are many tips for allaying the fears of nervous flyers. Many swear by one particular method, and it may be necessary to try a few before finding the best method.
Fears are frequently irrational, and nervous flyers generally know this. They are often not calmed by the fact that air flight is much safer than a trip to the store in one’s car. These facts can help some people, but not all. It may be helpful to realize that most flying accidents occur at landing or takeoff. To eliminate risk, one may wish to avoid having to use connecting flights, and attempt to book only direct flights.
Some people swear that an alcoholic drink helps them to calm nerves. This is not always the case for nervous flyers. Some nervous flyers may drink to excess in the hopes that nerves will be calmed. This may make one sick, and as well, a notably intoxicated person may not be allowed to board a flight. Others find that drinking alcohol actually heightens alarm. Thus for most nervous flyers, alcohol should be avoided.
As well, nervous flyers should avoid caffeinated beverages. These will definitely increase nervousness. Coffee and tea are obvious suspects, but also consider eliminating sodas containing caffeine as well.
Some feel taking a tranquilizer like Valium prior to a flight suitably calms their nerves. On long flights, some may use a sleeping pill. This may be helpful in calming nerves, but one should never attempt tranquilizer use for the first time on a flight. If one plans to use Valium, then try one a week or so before the flight to gauge its effect.
Some actually have a reverse effect from tranquilizers or sleeping pills, and it is far better for nervous flyers to ascertain this while they are still on the ground. As well, if one is driving to an airport, one should not take any type of depressant until one is checked in at the airport.
Others find that a way to occupy the mind can cut down on fear of flying. If one enjoys video games, classical music, sudoku or word puzzles, bring some along for the trip. This can help keep one’s mind occupied. Bringing a traveling companion along can help as well, especially if the person one brings does not share a similar fear of flying.
Some nervous flyers respond very well to a variety of breathing exercises or self-meditative exercises. These methods like Dr. Andrew Weil’s breathing methods can help regulate mood but they do require practice before one tries them out on a flight. One can usually get tapes or work with a trained therapist, but consider beginning this work several months before flying, so practice has been adequate.
Especially with so many new regulations for flying, nervous flyers benefit from having adequate time to prepare for a flight. Since the check-in process for flights is now considerably longer, be sure to arrive at the airport in good time so as to avoid the additional panic of potentially missing a flight.
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