Fear of flying
Fear of flying is one of the most common phobias, with an estimated one in 10 people experiencing flight anxiety. To those who do not suffer from anxiety, this may seem like an irrational fear. But, our mind will create feelings of anxiety when it believes we are in danger. Protecting us is the primary function of our subconscious mind, so if something is seen as a threat, actions will be taken.
Despite flying being proven to be one of the safest ways to travel, the fear still grips much of the population. While statistically, flying is safer than driving a car or crossing a road, it is a fear that can interfere with daily life. On this page, we look at how hypnotherapy for fear of flying can help.
On this page
Living with a fear of flying
Having a fear of flying can often interfere with personal holidays and business trips. This fear may cause a person to avoid a career path involving travel, or even miss out on a family holiday abroad.
There are many aspects of flying that can lead to feelings of anxiety, such as fear of having a panic attack, fearing the plane will go down, claustrophobia, being out of control and fear of terrorism. However, people can experience the fear before getting on a plane. Feelings of anxiety can start to arise when booking a holiday or arriving at the airport.
Not everyone who suffers from fear of flying will experience the same amount of distress. Fear of flying can range from mild anxiety before flying, to a state of terror which can prevent a person from getting on the plane or even leaving it once they have boarded.
Common symptoms include:
- dry mouth
- panic attacks
- blurred vision
- racing heartbeat
Overcoming your fear
Many people who do not suffer from a fear of flying may not understand how it feels. They might try to reassure the person, quoting statistics and personal experiences. But to those living with a fear of flying, these reassuring words are not always helpful. They may in fact do the opposite, making the individual feel like the fear is just weakness. But, it is important to know that fear of flying can affect anyone, regardless of age, status, gender and intelligence.
Overcoming a fear of flying takes a lot of courage and practise. But it is possible with appropriate treatment.
The most successful way to overcome phobias is exposure to feared triggers. It’s important to note that avoidance keeps your phobia alive and intense. With fear of flying, one of the biggest factors is anticipatory anxiety; the fear experienced in anticipation of taking a flight. Any successful treatment will help fearful fliers manage anticipatory anxiety before, as well as during, a flight.
The good news is that there are methods that can access the unconscious mind and work to enable the individual to overcome their fear of flying.
Hypnotherapy for fear of flying
A popular treatment method for fear of flying is hypnotherapy, which works to connect with the unconscious. It aims to change our thoughts and behaviours associated with flying, making it a more positive experience. Re-evaluating the reaction our unconscious mind creates can often help us to regain control over a fear and feel more at ease when anxious feelings arise.
Hypnotherapy can help you to become a relaxed, calm thinker - help you to feel safe and in control. Hypnosis uses relaxation techniques and the power of suggestion to promote a positive change. The hypnotherapist will tailor the suggestions to you, with the aim of helping you recognise what triggers your fear and why, as well as changing your reaction.
If you are living with a fear of flying, you can use our advanced search tool to find a hypnotherapist near you. When you find a professional you feel comfortable with, simply contact them to book a consultation.
Another treatment method for fear of flying is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This type of counselling includes techniques for managing anxiety, such as diaphragmatic breathing, to use while on the flight.
What causes a fear of flying?
Fear of flying is a learnt fear. It may stem from childhood (perhaps if the individual’s parents showed similar fear) or they may have developed the fear after suffering a bad experience (such as bad turbulence or the plane making an emergency landing).
It's important to note that fear of flying is not a single phobia. The fear may also stem from other fears and phobias, such as claustrophobia, fear of heights or agoraphobia. But, if you can successfully identify the triggers that produce your anxiety, you've taken the first step in overcoming the fear.
What to expect from a hypnosis session
During your initial consultation, your hypnotherapist will spend time getting to know you. They will talk to you, asking you why you are seeking hypnotherapy for fear of flying and what you want to achieve. Your therapist will then take some time to understand what you have told them, analysing this information and looking for a pattern.
After explaining the process to you and confirming you are happy to proceed, your hypnotherapist will help you enter a relaxed, trance-like state. They may ask you to picture getting on a plane, or booking a holiday - whenever it is that you begin to feel anxious. You may be asked to focus on how you feel and what you think triggers the fear.
When you have recognised these sensations, you will be offered suggestions or calming words. What they will say will depend on you and your fear. The idea behind this is that when you feel the onset of fear, these words will enter your conscious mind. These suggestions will help you manage your emotions and give you an element of control over your behaviour.
Your hypnotherapist may also teach you self-hypnosis techniques. This way you can continue your treatment long after your sessions are over. These methods will stay with you, to refer back to when you are next booking a holiday, walking into an airport or during a flight.
How can I find a hypnotherapist?
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