Cure Your Fear of Flying with Hypnotherapy
It’s that time of year when lots of us are going on our Summer holidays. For many people, the thought of that week abroad signifies freedom from work, guaranteed sun and a welcome break from everyday life.
But for others, it can mean anything from a surge of anxiety to the resignation of yet another holiday in the UK.
Don’t get me wrong, we live in a beautiful country and there is nowhere nicer when we have sunny weather too… but it’s good to have choices, and if you suffer from aerophobia, or fear of flying, those choices are limited and your world is suddenly a lot smaller. Like many phobias and fears, you may be lower down on the ‘fear spectrum’.
There are many people, for example, who do travel by plane but find it a scary or unsettling experience. This can spoil one of the most exciting parts of any holiday – the anticipation! And of course, when you are worried about the return journey, it can spoil the actual holiday too.
Flying really is a big issue for many people. It can prey on our vulnerability – anxieties and fears about death, natural disaster, and nowadays, even terrorism … it’s not surprising that it’s one of the most common phobias. And it’s multi-faceted, with elements of claustrophobia, vertigo and agoraphobia – it really is a catch-all phobia.
Sufferers describe the feeling of terror as ‘paralysing’ …. Fear of the process of flying and also anxiety that the fear will take over and cause public loss of control.
So how do you feel about flying?
Anxiety UK have published a ‘DIY Self-Diagnosis’ quiz to see how you really feel about flying. If you can answer YES to most of the questions it is likely that you are affected by a fear of flying.
- Do you have high levels of anticipatory anxiety prior to a flight?
- Do you experience bodily symptoms prior and during flying, such as hyperventilating, sweating, churning stomach and dizziness?
- Do you avoid flying wherever possible, and if able to only fly under duress?
- Do you picture catastrophic scenes while flying that cause you significant distress?
- Is your fear impacting on your relationships or work due to an inability to attend holidays or meetings?
- Do you worry that you might lose control when flying and spontaneously open the airplane door or draw attention to yourself?
So what can you do to help yourself?
- Tell your travel companions if they don’t already know … they will want to support you. It also means that, if you have a panic attack, you can prep them as to the best things they can do to calm you down and you won’t feel so embarrassed about it.
- Practice ‘grounding yourself’ – noticing 5 things that you can see, hear, touch, etc in your environment. This can help you if you’re feeling anxious or panicky but focusing on your surroundings can also help you to divert your attention so that you remain calm in the first place.
- In the same way, engage with those around you – have a chat to your friends and family, acknowledge your anxiety but don’t focus on it, instead re-direct your attentions into something else – activities such as puzzles, reading etc will help you to take your mind off your fears.
- Try deep breathing, exhaling slowly in a controlled way. A good way to practice this is with some bubble mixture. To be able to blow big bubbles, you need to blow out slowly and gently. I often use bubble mixture to enable young clients to practice their calm breathing but adults can do it too. It’s not silly if it helps and no one sees you practicing at home!
- Just reciting statistics to someone to ‘prove’ that flying is safe just doesn’t work – if it did, then no one would be fearful of flying. Phobias just don’t work like that. Hypnotherapy, however, is a fantastic way to overcome fear of flying. A therapist will take you through every element of the journey (from booking the holiday to landing!), replacing the fear with feelings of relaxation. It really does work!
Enjoy your travels!