There are many situations in which cause people undue anxiety and stress, but one of the most common stress producing situations is flying in an airplane. The fear of flying affects millions of people around the world – many of whom have never even traveled by airplane.
The fear of flying can significantly complicate a sufferer’s life – business executives, for example, often find that the fear of flying significantly impacts their careers, because they find it difficult to travel to business meetings in other cities. Even people who have family in distant locations will realize the negative effects of being afraid to fly—they are either unable to visit their family members, or have to drive long distances to see them.
The fear of flying is an entirely an irrational one, because traveling by plane use actually one of the safest forms of transportation available. In fact, studies issued by the US Department of Transportation concluded that traveling by plane is nearly 30 times safer than traveling by car. As the numbers go, a person who has a fear of flying should be theoretically have a much greater fear of driving an automobile!
All the statistics in the world won’t help you, though, if you truly have a fear of flying. It is not something that you can simply think through logically to make it go away. You will need to address the deeper underlying causes of your fear if you want to be able to travel by plane without feelings of anxiety and dread.
There are many components that make up a fear of flying, many of which most sufferers have never considered. First, when you are writing in an airplane, you are vulnerable – you have no control over what happens. The simple fact that you are placing your life in someone else’s hands can be a significant contributor to your fear of flying.
Many people who have developed a fear of flying are anxious by nature, so the prospect of having to wait passively until the plane lands can produce strong feelings of panic. If you are used to being able to get up and move around whenever you need to shake off feelings of anxiety, being confined to an airplane cabin can easily compound your fear of flying.
The fear of heights and the fear of enclosed spaces are two more common components of the fear of flying. Often, a person who is afraid of flying will not even realize that he or she fears heights or enclosed spaces, largely because they are usually able to instinctively avoid these situations. When faced with the prospect of flying, however, addressing these fears is simply unavoidable.
Of course, the fear of death or injury also contributes significantly to a fear of flying. Since most sufferers are consciously aware that flying is a safer option than traveling by car, the fear of death is usually not tied directly to traveling by plane. Instead, the fear of death is more deeply rooted, and emerges in situations that the sufferer is not used to. Most of us travel by car or bus every single day, so we have become accustomed to these types of travel – and we don’t associate our fear of death with them. Traveling by plane, however, is a rare occurrence for most of us, so we have a greater opportunity to stop and think about all of the possible dangers.