Fear of Flying is one of the most common phobias out there and it is estimated that around 20% of people have experienced it in one form or another. A fear of flying can be so severe that even thinking about going on a plane triggers are powerful fight or flight response. The typical symptoms of a physical stress response are increased heart rate, sweaty palms, feeling light-headed and all of this is accompanied by thoughts telling us that we are in a dangerous situation and something terrible is going to happen to us any second.
How can you overcome a Fear of Flying?
I work as a Clinical Hypnotherapist in Melbourne and my own Fear of Flying let me to discover hypnotherapy. I had been getting worse and worse over the years – just thinking about going on a plane would start the anxiety and fear around flying that kept me up at night weeks before the actual flight. I started to avoid holidays which involved going on a plane (and I LOVE travelling and experiencing different cultures). It started to seriously impact my life and my family.
Four years ago, a friend suggested to try hypnotherapy. I was extremely skeptical – it sounded like something you have to believe in for it to work. And I did not believe in it. My curiosity and my growing sense of unease when flying made me finally book an appointment though. I noticed that I started to actually look forward to the experience – wanting to find out what hypnotherapy was all about and if I could be hypnotized and how that would feel. Well, to make a long story short, I really enjoyed the experience, afterwards feeling confident, empowered and relaxed – and ready to test out if it had been successful. So I booked a flight to Hobart a couple of weeks later and amazingly enough the fear wasn’t there. I was sitting next to my husband on the plane glowing from the inside with pride and amazement that it had been so easy to let go of all that anxiety…..What a relief! It really changed my life……
So how can hypnosis help overcome a Fear of Flying? A Fear of Flying is a great example of how the mind tells us how to experience a situation. If you look around at other passengers on a plane there will be most likely someone looking anxious, gripping their armrests and being really tense and other people seem to be extremely relaxed and not bothered in the slightest.
So if the problem originates in the mind, the good news is that you have control over how much you let these thoughts that the mind produces constantly control your actions emotions and reactions. Like any kind of anxiety a Fear of Flying is self-reinforcing. It might begin with a sense of danger, maybe just the sensation of the plane taking off is enough to trigger a full-on physical response which in turn will produce thoughts of actually being in danger. Your mind is telling you something dangerous is happening, so your body reacts, and your physical reaction will trigger thoughts about danger. So how can you break this vicious cycle?
In hypnosis and through practicing regular mindfulness we can learn to observe our thoughts, without identifying with them so strongly. By observing our thinking in this way we can intervene in that vicious cycle of panic before it gets going.
So if you want to get on the next plane feeling calm, relaxed and in control control, I suggest to do your research and find a good hypnotherapist in your area. If you live in Melbourne and would like to see me get in touch today to book an appointment.
NIna Dewar, Hypnotherapist Melbourne, Brunswick