Studying abroad is one of the most life-changing things a college student can do; however, having some reservations is normal. One of them being that studying abroad requires getting on a plane.
There is no need to be ashamed though. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that approximately 8.1 million to 20.1 million Americans are scared of flying. Actor Ben Affleck admitted his fear of flying on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show. Other aviophobes, people who are scared of flying, include Sandra Bullock, Royce White, John Madden and Madonna. Clearly, you are not alone in your fear. Establishing this point may help you feel less embarrassed; however, it doesn’t really help you get on the plane with confidence.
Here are a couple of tips and tricks to overcoming the dreaded pre-flight jitters.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the chance of a plane crash is one in 11 million. The Administration’s latest initiative, Nextgen, has discovered “innovative technologies and procedures to make flying safer, greener and more efficient.” Not only have they been improving the planes we travel on, but they have also upgraded the testing standards for pilots.
Remove and Replace
Upon lift off, thoughts of crashing may immediately overwhelm the senses. John DiFrancesco (‘19), a SNHU student who just got back from studying abroad in Florence, Italy, has some tips for overcoming your anxiety. DiFrancesco said, “When I go through heavy turbulence, I like to tilt my head back a little and close my eyes and imagine I’m somewhere else, either on a bus going down a road with a lot of pot holes or on a boat going through the water and hitting a few little waves.” Removing threatening thoughts of crashing and replacing them with harmless thoughts of everyday life can greatly transform the mood of the entire flight.
With flights that could potentially last up to 18 hours, some may very well spend the entire time thinking about crashing. Instead of doing that, create a checklist of things, whether they be work related or not, that can be used for entertainment while en route. These could include perfecting a resume, completing paperwork, reading a book, watching a movie or making a friend. Make sure the length of the checklist coincides with the length of the flight so you are busy the entire time.
Go to SNHU’s Wellness Center
Those who would prefer to talk through their fears with a certified professional can go to the on-campus Wellness Center located in the back of the Student Center. The Wellness Center not only provides one-on-one counseling, but they also have same-day appointments and many resources at their disposal.
Whether you try one or more of these coping mechanisms above, make sure you don’t allow your fear of flying to get in the way of an experience of a lifetime.