First-Time Flying: How to overcome your Anxiety

Cruise ship employees from India often have to make a long journey to their vessels on the other side of the world. This typically includes long-haul flights, extended layovers and sometimes emergency landings. 

Some new recruits may have never flown before. Others may suffer minor jitters or aerophobia which can make it difficult for them to reach their cruise ships without fear or stress. Enjoying the last few hours of alone time can help before cruise ship life takes over.

You are not alone

According to a literature review on the United States National Library of Medicine, around 2.5 per cent of the general population in the US suffer from clinically significant phobia of flying while around 40 per cent have a self-identified fear. So if you do feel nervous on your first flight ever, or on any flight at all, know that the fear is common and there will probably be a bunch of others around you who share your anxiety. 

What does it feel like?

A fear of flying has been described as any other fear. The general and typical symptoms include chills, sweaty palms, nausea and shortness of breath. Sometimes the fear may be linked to other triggers such as a fear of enclosed spaces, of crowds, of heights or of not being in control. 

It could also manifest emotionally in the form of irritability and clouded thinking. In rare cases, people with an irrational fear of flying could have a panic attack such as heart palpitations or a tummy upset. If you are flying for the first time to join your cruise ship job, you might also be worried about your baggage and smoothly getting through customs.

How to deal with it

Given that you’ve chosen a career in the cruise industry, you will be required to take a flight (or more) at the start and end of every contract. So learning to cope with your anxiety can help immensely. Here are a few tips.

  • Learn about flying

The more you know about the mode of transport you are taking, the better you’ll feel in control of it. According to the International Air Transport Association, a person would have to travel by air every day for 461 years before experiencing an accident with at least one fatality. More people die in road traffic accidents. Learn more about how planes work, the sounds they make and their safety measures to help reduce your anxiety on the flight.

  • Think positive

This can be hard, but telling yourself positive things repeatedly can help reduce your anxiety. Instead of thinking you’re afraid because the plane will crash, repeat positive affirmations such as ‘flying scares me but I will be fine, I’m in good hands and I am safe’.

  • Distract yourself

Load your media device with your favourite music, movies or books. You can also download instructional breathing or meditation sessions. Choose comedy movies or series from the in-flight entertainment system and keep yourself occupied as much as you can.

  • Outsmart anxiety

Do the opposite of what your anxious feelings suggest. You can also enlist the help of fellow passengers by informing them what triggers you and what is most useful to overcome your anxiety. And remember why you are doing this – enjoy the excitement of joining a new cruise ship, making new friends and seeing new places.

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