Come fly with me!
A fear of flying is no joke at this time of year. A fear of flying probably means that you are the sort of person who likes to be in control. This is a good thing, as it's people who like control that get things done; inventions invented and medicines made, that holiday planned... the problem is that the need to be in control can end up controlling you.
What do you do to try to get back in control of the controlling part controlling you? You think about a solution that takes up all your time and ends up being exhausting as you explore one avenue after another; as time goes on and that familiar panic feeling sets in. It gets worse from here as you then imagine the worst flight ever simply because you are trying to be prepared for the worst case, as being prepared means survival, right?
However, anxiety, panic and the worry of panicking and subsequently feeling like a fool ruins perspective and clear thinking anyway.
Allowing other people to do something for you can make you feel incredibly vulnerable and then subsequently empowered, because we are not supposed to work alone. Being part of a tribe is our history; let someone else drive you while you sit in the passenger seat, feel how it feels to let someone else take care of you just for a while and trust that they will look after you in just the same way as a pilot who wants to go home to his or her family will make sure that the plane you are travelling in together is safe; in just the way that the security guards check that the people you are travelling with are safe too because they want to get home to their families and their private lives.
While you are going somewhere wonderful (I hope) full of expectations of things that are yet to happen and places you are yet to see, people you haven't yet met, you can relax as you think back on all your previous flights and that even if you have had a bad flight, you were ok, the pilot did their job and took care of you. I know that you know all of these things already so my advice to you is to let go and every time you think of flying, make it a good thought. You know where you are sitting at a window seat and there is lots of space around you, the food is actually good, the weather is perfect and as you put on your seatbelt you are really calm. Seriously, imagine those things, that calmness inside as the plane smoothly takes off and then you are away and engrossed in a book or a film or you're busy looking after the children. In your imagination make it the best flight ever... easy, smooth, enjoyable, and before you know it, you have landed and you are there.
Just practise those anticipatory good thoughts every day and allow yourself to notice your emotions changing from turmoil to calm. Make yourself accept and ask for offers of help from those around you and relinquish being in control just a little bit.
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About Johanna Rogers
Jo Rogers is a hypnotherapist and psychotherapist based in Helston, Cornwall. A former teacher and nursery nurse she is skilled in the treatment of children's issues as well as adults behavioural, emotional and physical problems.