Vacation plans up in the air because you’re afraid to fly? Fear of flying a career barrier? Fear of flying kept you from visiting loved ones? Don’t worry. You are not alone. The number of people who report fear of flying has doubled since the September 11th suicide hijackings. But hypnosis can help.
To get started, ask yourself:
What are you really afraid of when you fly?
Most people who are truly fearful flyers couldn’t care less about terrorists. They worry about whether the plane will fall through the air with turbulence or it will crash on landing or takeoff. They ask “what if” questions like “What if the pilot has a heart attack? What if we hit a small commercial jet? What if the bolts come loose and the wheels fall off? What if I just lose it?” Interestingly only 6% of people believe flying is unsafe (Boeing 1980 study). Yet close to 30% (5 times as many) admit to being afraid of flying. The fearful flyer knows their fears aren’t real. Yet they feel every bit as powerful as a genuine threat. Palms sweat. Hearts beat faster. Passengers feel a sense of impending doom. Despite the fact that the person rationally thinks that planes are perfectly safe. The first question you must ask yourself is “do you believe rationally that flying is safe?”
The truth is that most people think airplanes are back to being the safest way to travel. Most years there are no fatalities in all domestic flights. Zero. Compare this to car accident statistics. If you accept this and yet are still terrified, then you can work on panic as an emotional problem rather than as a realistic response to the risks attached to flight.
How hypnosis can help you quit the Fearful Flying Club
If the problem seems too much for you to handle, I would suggest you schedule your first hypnosis session as soon before your flight as possible. I approach fear of flying the same way I treat any fear. First I probe for the root cause of the issue. Often there is a distinct origination point that may have little or nothing to do with flying. If this is found I help the client hypnotically to reframe it in such a way that it no longer applies to flying. The next step is to desensitize the fear. You will be guided through an imaginary flight from packing to arriving. You will be directed to gently experience a toned down version of your fear and to allow it to disappear and then to associate feelings of enjoyment and relaxation while flying. Other techniques include time compression, distraction/dissociation and somnambulism. In time compression, you are conditioned to experience the flight as very short so it seems to be “over almost as soon as they leave the gate.”
Here are some comments on how hypnosis can help reduce or eliminate the fear of flying. Typically these are after a 3 session program:
The results exceeded my expectations
“Thank you for helping me eliminate my fear of flying. The flight back home was nothing like the one over to the states which I'd have to describe as extremely uncomfortable in every way possible. As you know, I was NOT looking forward to the flight home. Discovering that I "inherited" my little phobia about airplane travel from my mother was an eye-opener and seemed to simply dissolve away the fear. The results exceeded my expectations. D.M. Warwick, Rhode Island”
Don’t wait until your flight is boarding. Call now to get started. In the meantime, here’s a list of fearless flying tips you can use right now to ease your anxieties.
- Arrive at the airport early. You will be more relaxed overall and by checking in early you may have your choice of seats.
- Ask to visit the cockpit.
- Introduce yourself to the pilot and crew.
- Request a seat near the front where you will be less aware of any turbulence
- Bring a book, magazines, a Walkman with relaxing tapes, or crossword puzzles. Don’t plan to just sit there with nothing to do but worry.
- Schedule non-stop flights whenever possible. Minimizing the number of take offs and landings AND waiting on the ground between take offs will reduce your overall anxiety.
- Avoid smaller planes and propeller planes till you are more comfortable. They are as safe as the larger ones but fearful flyers often feel safer in a bigger aircraft.
- Eat nutritiously the day of the flight and cut back on caffeine.
- Practice visualizing your flight and arriving at your destination safely.Trying to put the flight out of your mind until you are on board may seem like a good idea. But it isn’t. The more emotional/mental preparation you can do before hand the better. The last thing you want is to suddenly “find yourself” on a plane without having processed your anxiety beforehand.
- Ask for a aisle seat, especially if you feel any claustrophobia. An aisle seat will let you easily get up and move around rather than feel penned in by other passengers.