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How to combat a fear of flying: Top 10 tips

For many of us, having to fly somewhere can feel like the end of the world, but here are 10 tips to help tackle your phobia

If possible, tailor your flight

Even though there is almost no chance of things going wrong, it can be helpful to tailor your plans. A lot of aviophobia has to do with the perceived lack of control, mixed with an element of claustrophobia. This results in a panicked feeling that can be avoided with just a few key choices.

If you are flying a long way, for example, choose the most direct route you can, so as to avoid prolonging the experience.

It might also be helpful to select an aisle seat so that you can get out and move around at regular intervals. And, if you have the option, make your flight during the day. Not only will this likely mean you're less tired, but also that you can see what's happening outside.

Develop reliable coping mechanisms

For many people, a fear of flying may be a manifestation of a much larger problem, so developing coping mechanisms to be used in daily life can be a huge help in the run up to your journey. What works for someone else might not work for you, however, so it's worth trying a few things until you land on what fits in best with your lifestyle and sensibility.

Meditation, gentle exercise and breathing techniques are all popular ways of managing anxiety in stressful situations, and can be practiced in the weeks or months leading up to the date of your flight. Once you are up in the air, choosing an aisle seat will allow you to get up and walk around, and you can tune out through meditation when you feel yourself getting nervous.

Consider medication

It's not for everyone, but anti-anxiety medication prescribed by your doctor can mean the difference between getting on the flight and staying home for a lot of reluctant flyers. It's always best to try to overcome your fears without the aid of medication first, getting to the root of the problem rather than simply masking the symptoms, but the option is always there as a last resort.

When all alternatives have been exhausted, visiting your doctor could also shed some light on the different ways medication can help you to manage anxiety. With this in your arsenal, even if it's just a little more knowledge taken from a professional, it may be easier to manage your symptoms by yourself.

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