Overcoming the Fear of Flying
Because many of our patients need to fly out to San Diego to be taken into Tijuana, Mexico for their bariatric surgery, we thought we’d share information for those who have a fear of flying. To some, the idea of flying on a plane can cause anxiety and be a very frightening concept. And when combined with the excitement/anxious feeling of preparing to undergo surgery in another country, it can be even more stressful.
But the good news is that there are steps one can take to overcome this fear potentially. The last thing that we’d want to see is for somebody to miss out on a life-saving decision if they want to take the step.
So without further delay, let’s get started on our list of steps to overcoming the fear of flying on an airplane.
1 – Figure Out What Triggers the Fear and Anxiety
By figuring out what exactly it is that sets you off and causes the fear and anxiety to kick in, you can better control and avoid the attacks. For example, if seeing the ground pull further away during takeoff seems like something that will scare you, merely closing the window or looking away during takeoff may help.
2 – Replace Fears with Knowledge
If you fear the unknown, such as the chance of the plane crashing, study the likelihood of an accident occurring and steps to take in an emergency. While your fears and anxiety will not completely go away through doing this, it can provide some valuable relief.
3 – Turn Bad “What If” Thoughts Into Good “Oh boy!” Thoughts
Thoughts that lead to anxiety attacks are ones relating to the fear of the unknown. “What if the plane crashes?”, “What if I miss my flight and it takes forever?”, “What if I board the wrong flight?”. From there, the thoughts go into a downward spiral as worry grows stronger, and then you start to feel worried about how much you fear it, and that increases the anxiety more.
A method than can help reduce this is to replace those thoughts with positive “oh boy!” thoughts. “Oh boy! My first flight! I can’t wait to see the mountains from way up high”, “Oh boy! I wonder who I’ll meet and get to talk to on this flight!”, Are examples of thoughts that can encourage excitement about the trip. When you let yourself see it as a fun and exciting opportunity, those fears of risks can be put on the back burner.
4 – Know When to Ignore Anxious Thoughts
Anxious thoughts are our mind’s way of protecting us in times of danger. But at times, these ideas come up at times in which they aren’t justified. If you listen to these thoughts all the time and don’t move forward, it can lead to missing out on many great opportunities. By knowing whether your anxiety is justified or not, you can help to reduce unnecessary panic attacks.
5 – Don’t Sweat Over Turbulence
During a flight, there will be moments when the pilot tells the passengers that the plane is about to experience some turbulence. This is quite common and many times feels like nothing more than being in a car on a somewhat bumpy road. Planes are designed to handle this, and by understanding both the design of a plane and that turbulence is very common, you can help to reduce your anxiety during such moments.
6 – Socialize with Others
Another great way to reduce anxiety is to talk to people around you and learn a bit about them. This can also help once you are on the plane awaiting takeoff if you speak to the passenger next to you. A fun and engaging conversation can take your mind completely off of the flight and make the experience very enjoyable. And who knows, you may very well make a new friend along the way!
7 – Travel Prepared with Goodies
Whether it is your first flight, or one of many, having a travel list for your trip can help a lot. Items such as a small blanket, neck pillow, eye cover, ear plugs, nausea pills, good books to read, etc., can help to make the flight more enjoyable. By really knowing what you’ll need and being equipped with items you may need on your trip, you can contribute to putting your mind more at ease as you feel more in control.
8 – Inform Others of Your Anxiety and Triggers
If you have any reason to believe that anxiety will kick in during your flight, it can be wise to inform the airport staff of this issue. When they know of your sensitivity, they can help take additional measures to ensure comfort on your travels.
If you are reading this and are somebody who suffers from such anxiety, we hope that this guide helps to prepare you for your first or your next flight better. Panic and anxiety are very much real but do have the potential to be controlled. There are also what are called grounding exercises which we have covered in a previous post.
Medical tourism to Tijuana is on the rise and is a great option for those considering bariatric surgery in Tijuana to go with.
Should you have any questions regarding what it is like to book surgery with us and travel to Tijuana, Mexico for surgery, you are welcome to visit our patient process page.
If you have questions that you want to be answered by one of our patient coordinators, you can give us a call at 855-768-7247
Mexico Bariatric Center