Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Washington Post Features

May 29, 2013

Help for fearful flyers: A chicken's guide to wingin' it


By phone, Cameron, the author of a number of books on creativity whose publisher encouraged her to write one after she confessed her fear of flying, acknowledges that prayers aren't always sufficient to allay fears. "Sometimes I buy the [National] Enquirer and the Globe [magazine]," she says. "Instead of worrying about flying, I worry about celebrity cellulite."

Most of these methods might help those with milder fears of flying, says Tampa psychologist Stacey Scheckner, herself occasionally a fearful flier. But those who are truly phobic would probably need more individualized treatment with a therapist. "If your fear keeps you stuck on the ground, you need to get real help," she says.

Still, I'd like to think that I've learned some useful coping skills from all these sources. I already feel calmer just anticipating an upcoming flight. Of course, if randy thoughts, gossip magazines and iPhone apps aren't enough, I can always pray. Cameron's book even suggests a prayer for what may be my one rational flight-related concern: "Please let my bag arrive safely."

Abercrombie is a writer based in Tampa.

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