Leaving Fear of Flying Behind: 5 Benefits of Travel

by guest blogger Psicoline 

When fear takes hold of you, it can be paralysing and you may feel that the whole focus of your attention goes toward the negative, to everything that can go wrong. Your thoughts can become skewed – and therefore your reality as well. In therapy we talk about managing thoughts, and the need to propose alternative ideas when a negative thought comes to mind. That is, incorporating new ways of thinking. We want to help you focus on the good parts of getting on a plane:

It’s Easier to See the World in Less Time

These days people lead very busy lives. In previous posts we talked about how this rhythm could be an influence in being able to stop and enjoy the present. A plane allows you to reduce journey time and makes it easier to enjoy your destination more. Although you may feel that sometimes flights can be stressful because they’re a new experience, they also give you more time in the place you visit. This is not a trivial thing; if you have more time, you also have more space for rest and enjoyment (and this is something fundamental on any holiday).

It Makes it Possible to Nurture Important Ties

Sometimes distance alienates you from the people you need and care for. Humans are social beings, and as such you need your loved ones to regulate emotions and to just feel good. Contact with the people you love helps generate oxytocin, one of the essential neurotransmitters in reducing stress. What better reason than to catch a plane and be close to your loved ones? 

It Makes You more Creative

To many people, flying means new experiences; it’s something that doesn’t happen every day. But how does it help your creativity? When you’re at an airport, you have to go through security controls, look for the boarding gate, manage time, etc. When you experience all these situations for the first time, this creates new neural connections that when translated into your day-to-day life means being able to solve problems in a more agile and creative way. When you fly and go on that trip that you were so looking forward to, you give yourself the opportunity to learn new ways of living and how to address different problems.


It’s a Different Experience


Do you know your comfort zone? It really means the comfort and learning zone. Challenging and testing yourself in new situations makes you learn and expand the zone that you perceive as safe. Why? When you jump into something new, you learn how to act in new areas; your brain creates new connections (or new ways of behaving) that you can use in other situations in the future. This is why your comfort zone expands as you acquire new strategies that you’ll implement in the future. This allows you to be calmer in the face of new challenges, because you can anticipate what will happen. 


It Encourages Self-Knowledge


There’s pretty much nothing that challenges your self-knowledge more than living new experiences. Think for a minute about previous situations where you got to know yourself better. Were they moments where you did more of the same thing or were they moments where you did different things? I’m sure your answer is the latter, right? No wonder.

People often doubt their abilities and, if they feel fear, they overestimate what could happen (usually something negative). Maybe you’re questioning your ability to move around in an airport or to manage stress when getting on an airplane. When you haven’t been in the situation of solving these types of problems, you could anticipate that your capabilities will be less than they are; therefore continuing to face something new can be important in trusting and valuing your potential. 


These are some of the benefits of flying, and it’s important to be able to give space to them. To vanquish fears, it’s also useful to propose alternatives to the irrational thoughts or beliefs that lead you towards fear. Which of these reasons could be most helpful to you?