How to Overcome Your Fear of Balloon Rides
Uneasy about balloons rides because your fear of heights? You’re not alone. Luckily, there are several solutions. Here are the best ways to overcome your fear.
Keyword(s): balloon rides
Have you ever wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride but the thought of being thousands of feet in the sky fills you with dread?
Does your stomach clench when you’re walking across a bridge? Do you have to avert your eyes when you’re on a roller coaster ride?
The reality is, you’re not alone. Many people have a fear of heights. And by many, we mean 3% to 5% of the American population.
While this is a normal fear, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on some great experiences— such as balloon rides.
In fact, it’s recommended that you confront your phobia head on. In this article, we’ll give you some tips and tricks on how you can overcome your fear of balloon rides.
And how you can get one step further to squelching your fear of heights.
Understanding Acrophobia or Fear of Heights
Acrophobia is the scientific term for fear of heights. So, a person who suffers from acrophobia is afraid of being several feet above the ground.
Like many phobias, your fear of heights could have come about a terrifying experience that involved heights.
You could be anxiety prone or coincidentally had a panic attack. And you just happened to be walking across a bridge.
Maybe one of your parents has a fear of heights and you picked up on their fear when you’d be in an elevator or on a roller coaster.
Or perhaps your fear is innate.
Whatever the cause, it’s understandable that you have this fear. In fact, science reveals why taking balloon rides could be hard on the nerves…
What Science Says
Every person has a fight-or-flight response. If we didn’t have it, humans probably wouldn’t be here right now. It’s what keeps us from getting bit from rattle snakes and attacked by bears.
But what if we can’t run away or fight it? You see, that’s what happens when you’re in the air. Your feet have nowhere to carry you. Which can make us feel out of control.
Also, your eyes search for reference points roughly thirty feet in front to orient your body. When you’re on a balloon ride or skydiving, the reference points are constantly moving.
Especially when skydiving or hang gliding, there isn’t a reference point to orient your body.
Lastly, along these lines, our senses bring in valuable information for our brain and body to assess if this is a secure environment.
These senses include inner ear, eyes, touch, smell, and hearing.
According to this Psychology Today article, if any of these senses decreases, it lessens the ability to reference our body against other objects.
We can then become nervous because we are (subconsciously) aware that this is happening.
It then makes sense why people feel nervous when they’re taking balloon rides or on an airplane.
But what can you do to make you less afraid of heights and enjoy a balloon ride? Read on to find out!
Conquer Balloon Rides with These Tips
Below are practical tips you can use so your balloon ride experience is enjoyable.
Schedule Your Ride Months Out
Schedule your balloon ride a couple months in advance. This will give you time to deal with your fear of heights on a smaller level.
What we mean is that take things slowly. Think of something that makes you feel slightly afraid of heights, but that is manageable
Maybe this is going on an elevator? Or walking up several flights of stairs? Everyone is different.
Rate Your Fear
To find out which situations make you more afraid than others, make a list. For instance, you could list:
- Walking on a bridge
- Driving over a bridge
- Taking a plane ride
- Hang Gliding
- Riding in a hot air balloon
- Walking up stairs
Then, rate that situation from one to ten, with one being the least afraid to ten being the most.
If you’re still unsure about the score for each scenario, list or think of some situations where you don’t feel afraid of heights at all.
This could be taking a jog or playing with your dog. These situations would be rated a one. And can help you create a baseline to go off of. (Again, yours may be different.)
Work Your Way Through the List
After rating your list, start at the bottom and work your way to the top. Let’s say walking up several flights of stairs is a six for you.
It’s the lowest rating on your list. Start exposing yourself to this situation and walking up flights of stairs.
Of course, you don’t have to walk up ten flights of stairs in one day. Do this little by little.
Start by walking up one flight of stairs. Check in with yourself. How are you feeling? Do you sense your stomach clenching and your heart rate increasing?
Ride it through. And go up another flight. Then go back down. The next day, go up three flights of stairs. And more and more.
Once you feel comfortable walking up stairs, do a situation on your list with a higher score. Maybe that’s being in an elevator or walking across a bridge.
The truth is, you want to slowly expose yourself to your fear of heights. That way, when you go on the balloon ride, you have confidence in managing your fear.
Confide in Someone About Your Fear
You don’t have to go about this alone. In fact, we don’t recommend it. Talk to a safe person about your fear of heights. Have them go along with you when you walk up those stairs.
They can serve as a source of encouragement and motivation.
During Your Balloon Ride
Let’s say you slowly exposed yourself to your fear of heights. You’ve gained more confidence. But your heart’s still racing during the take-off.
It’s ok. Breathe through it. Squeeze your friend’s or partner’s hand. Focus on something that’s stationary inside the basket for a few minutes.
And then dare yourself to look out at the spectacular view. Feel the wind and the sun on your face. Smell the breeze. Use your senses to not be nervously looking for control.
But to let go, surrender, and enjoy the experience.
We hope this helps you to enjoy balloon rides.
Let us know by leaving a comment!