Want to travel the world? Don’t let fear of flying hold you back
Guess what, we’re not rational.
Fear of flying is a widespread problem which can get in the way of our desire to enjoy a relaxing holiday or build new business connections. Whilst the numbers show that we’re far more likely to come to harm in a car accident than a plane crash, this rational reminder makes virtually no difference for someone who experiences fear of flying.
As with most of our problems, fear of flying is driven by our unconscious mind rather than our rational brain. All our unconscious mind wants to do is to keep us safe from harm, whatever the cost. So if you find yourself panicking or overcome with fear during a flight, your unconscious is trying to keep you on alert for danger or even put you off flying altogether.
When clients come to see me about their fear of flying, they are often very frustrated with themselves because they know it’s not rational. But beating yourself up over your fear of flying may only make the problem worse. It’s important to remember that we all struggle with irrational fears and beliefs and whilst the problem is holding you back, the intention behind the behaviour is positive. Your fear just wants to keep you safe.
Hypnotherapy for fear of flying
Everyone experiences fear of flying differently and as a cognitive hypnotherapist treating fear of flying, my first job is to identify the pattern behind the problem:
- When is it better? When is it worse?
- Is it different before the flight, take off, turbulence or landing? What’s different about those times?
- What are you thinking about the experience? Do you have a video that’s playing in your mind about what will happen? How does it appear to you?
- What are the feelings or sensations you’re experiencing when you’re feeling your fear?
In treating your fear of flying I would help you clear any negative memories or beliefs you might hold about flying. Sometimes people have a strong negative memory in relation to flying and for others the fear is about what flying means to them e.g. loss of control. I would then draw on a range of powerful techniques to guide your unconscious to move towards what your ideal flight would look like. This would include some valuable self-hypnosis techniques for you to practice and use during a flight to reduce any fearful symptoms.
Tips for fearful flyers
Re-write the story
- In the lead up to the flight, write down how the flight would be different if you didn’t have your fear of flying. Write this down in a journal with as much detail as possible including waiting for the flight, take-off and landing. Write down what would be different if you experience turbulence. Describe it in positive terms e.g. “I would be laughing and joking with my friend” or “I would enjoy being absorbed by my book” rather than “I wouldn’t be doing X”.
- Starting as far ahead of your flight as possible, revisit the positive story you’ve written about your flight and re-read it every night. Close your eyes and take your time to visualise the story, rehearsing those key moments that let you know the flight is going well. By the time you get to the flight your mind will be looking for those details that you described. This will reinforce the positive feelings you’ve associated with those aspects of the flight.
Have a strategy for sudden strong emotion
It will boost your confidence if you know you have a ‘go-to’ strategy if you suddenly experience a wave of panic or fear. Just having this up your sleeve will make it less likely that you will experience a blip. There are many techniques you could adopt, but breathing techniques tend to be the most powerful as they slow your heart-rate down which leads to both your body and mind feeling calmer and quieter.
Try breathing in for 3 seconds in through your nose and out for 5 seconds through your mouth for a minute and see how you feel differently as a result.
There are lots of valuable self-help tips in this article specifically aimed at helping you through turbulence.
Would you like help?
If you would like help with your fear of flying, feel free to contact me today for a free, initial consultation. I see hypnotherapy clients face-to-face in Manchester City Centre or online via Skype.