Fear of Flying Course – Another Success Course with the Flight Simulator and Anxiety Hypnotherapy
As with most forms of anxiety and fear, the number one strategy for dealing with it, is to try and avoid it. Avoidance makes you feel better in the short term because of the relief it brings to you from the anxiety and stress reducing. However, it doesn’t solve the problem or make it go away; it just postpones it until the next similar situation.
It’s estimated that up to about 25% of people struggle with flying anxiety to some degree. There can be forms of general flying anxiety from even seeing a plane or talking about flying with others. Most flying phobics have elements of anticipatory flight anxiety where you feel anxious as you think ahead to your flight and you overthink and catastrophise even before you set foot on a plane. And then there’s the flight anxiety itself where you may worry about something bad happening, feel tense and on edge and become very panicky around every sound and movement of the plane (especially that dreaded turbulence!).
But if avoidance has been your main anxiety-coping strategy, what happens when you need to fly? How can you cope with the anxiety, fear and worry that you may start to experience even weeks before your flight? That’s where the fear of flying course comes to your rescue. Based upon sound research, and incorporating elements of psychology, virtual exposure and knowledge and information about anxiety and flying, you can start to feel more calm and relaxed around flying. Rather than feeling out of control on the plane (and perhaps almost wanting to take back control by flying it yourself!), you can learn how to take back control over your own thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions.
Fear of Flying and Flight Anxiety
This past weekend, Serena (at Sim2Do) and I ran another of our fear of flying courses at the simulator centre in Mildenhall. Many of the people we help have avoided flying for a long time, even years, because of their fear and anxiety. Yet at some point, just before they come to us for help, something has changed that means they really need to overcome their fear and fly somewhere.
It could be to visit relatives (whom they may not have seen for years), it could be for work (where the excuses not to fly have run out!), it could be for some special occasion that is happening far field, and it may be because their desire to go on that amazing holiday is so great and they want to clear that obstacle that has ruined previous holidays (or sometimes because they don’t want their kids to have to miss out, or worse develop the same fear, because of some irrational fear of theirs).
All of these clients arrive with a sort of psychological equation in their minds that flying means intense anxiety and fear. Yet of course, that can’t be the whole picture because many people find flying a relaxing and enjoyable experience, a time to switch off from other demands, or a time to feel excited about where they are going. That extra step in the flying anxiety equation is everything that goes on inside your mind around flying. There are your past experiences, imagined future flying disasters, negative thoughts, uncomfortable feelings and all of your beliefs, understandings and expectations around flying.
Research suggests that most people with a fear of flying have either never flown before, or have flown without encountering any adverse events. I’ve certainly worked with and helped many who fall into this bracket, as well as those who have experienced traumatic flying experiences that led to their anxiety, or who have experienced some other flying-related trauma or tragedy. And of course there can be linked issues, such as generalised anxiety, fear of loss of control and claustrophobia, that contribute to what is going on when on a plane.
Anxious Thoughts and Feelings
As with any phobia or fear, there are three main components of what you may experience. There are all the unpleasant physical sensations, such as feeling short of breath, a racing heart, bodily tension, feeling hot and cold, and a sense of light headedness. There are all the associated thoughts of dying in a crash, things going wrong, and other catastrophising and worse-case scenarios. And there are the behaviours you may adopt, the primary one being avoidance as I described earlier.
The person on our course on Saturday described experiencing all of these things. They felt anxious on the way to the airport, boarding the plane (especially when the doors were then shut), worried about the shaking of the plane wings, the noises during the flight, the sensations of being pushed back in the chair during take off, and their intense fear of being shaken during turbulence.
And, of course, they were easily able to describe the uncomfortable physical sensations, as well as all of the fearful thoughts, that they experienced when thinking about flying or imagining being on the plane.
Yet the good news here is that the research demonstrates, along with the feedback from the people who have overcome their flying fear, that the fear of flying is certainly something that is treatable and can be helped. Treatment incorporating education about flying and planes, cognitive restructuring and exposure, is likely to be effective in helping you to reduce your anxiety.
Here’s what one recent fear of flying course participant had to say after the course (and after their flight):
“Hi Serena and Dan,
I have just had a great holiday in Scotland. The course was so helpful. I said at the time I felt excited about going, as the course helped immensely. Both the flight there and back was great. I even chose the window seat. It was great to be back flying again. The confidence I gained from the course was amazing. I can’t wait for my next adventure.
Thank you both” (Lee in London)
My hypnotherapy sessions, and our fear of flying course, are based upon the research into overcoming your flight anxiety, which we then tailor to meet your individual concerns and needs. You get to learn more about what is going on in the plane to end your uncertainty (like what all those sounds are and how the plane functions), what turbulence is and why it happens and much more. We cover psychological strategies to calm anxious feelings and interrupt negative thoughts, so that you are in control of what you are are thinking, feeling and doing. And, at the flight simulator centre in Mildenhall, you get to sit in the cockpit of a Boeing 737 and learn what it’s like there in the cockpit during a flight (the Boeing is a pretty incredible piece of kit).
If you want to learn more about help for your fear of flying, then do take a look through some of these articles here on my website:
Where-ever it is that you want to go, or need to go, you don’t need to let your flight anxiety stop you or make it an overwhelming ordeal for you. Rather than only thinking about and dreading the journey, you can learn how to relax and look forward to what you’ll do when you reach your destination. Instead of letting anxious thoughts and feelings dominate and control how you think and feel, you can use effective strategies to take back control over your thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions when you fly.
To your confident flying success,
Hypnotherapy in Ely & Newmarket
Struggling with anxiety, stress, worry and a fear of flying and need some help? Find out how I can help with a Complimentary Hypnotherapy Strategy Session. Learn more here: Appointments
Find out what dozens of other people have said after their hypnotherapy sessions with Dan: Hypnotherapy Testimonials
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