Flying Fears

If you have a fear of flying then you know only too well the impact it can have on your life; ruining holidays, stopping you from going on holiday at all, or restricting you from seeing new places and experiencing new things. The fear may be around enclosed spaces (claustrophobia) or not being able to get off the plane (not being in control). Your fear may be associated with thoughts of the plane crashing, or turbulence.

Fear of flying is quite common and can affect people in many different ways. It may involve different aspects of flying; when booking a holiday or arriving at the airport, or when sitting on the plane getting ready to take off. Each person has their own triggers for flying anxiety.

People usually tell me they can't face a flight without lots of alcohol, prescription 'calm down pills', or that it is so bad they just won't fly at all, meaning they miss out on family holidays.

While a natural feeling of 'nerves' or apprehension about your flight is perfectly normal, sometimes people can develop a real phobia - making them either unable to fly at all, or completely ruining their holiday because of the extreme fear of getting there and back.

When we are scared of something, our brain triggers the natural 'flight or fight' response in which we release adrenaline and stress hormones ready to fight or run. Of course, sitting on a plane means we have all of those stress hormones rushing around our system going nowhere, and giving us the feelings of fear and panic. The anxiety we feel isn't allayed until we get ourselves out of the potentially dangerous situation. Sitting in that seat unable to get away for a length of time will then exaccerbate this fear, as we feel stuck in it.

While flying might be a safe form of travel, if you have developed an inflated fear response to flying, your brain thinks you are in some sort of crisis or danger and it will step in to 'help'. No amount of reading about how flying is safe, or being told flying is safe, will actually help for long. This is because that fear is stored in the subconscious part of your mind, and will be activated before your conscious, rational brain. So, you tell yourself it's safe, to stop being scared; after all you've researched how safe planes are and you know it's irrational - so you'll just be fine - right? Unfortunately, while you are telling yourself all this, your subconscious mind has already sprung into action and set off the 'let's get us out of this danger' response.

Hypnotherapy can use that subconscious response for the better, get to the cause of your fear, re-frame the fear, and help you to learn a new pattern of behaviour to help you to change your mindset.

I have seen lots of people for fear of flying, probably the most common fear I have worked with.

Here are some of the results from clients - shared with permission!

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