From mild anxiety to total panic, the fear of flying can blight holidays and business trips. If this sounds like you, find out more about how to overcome your fear of flying with NLP and hypnotherapy.
Can NLP and Hypnotherapy Help with Your Fear of Flying?
Phobias and Fear of Flying
Fear of flying is really common and I have worked with people in my practice to help them overcome this. Figures vary but it could be at least one in ten people, possibly more, who struggle with aerophobia.
It can be for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes people have had a frightening experience on a flight such as turbulence and bad weather, or an uncomfortable take-off or landing. They may worry about mechanical issues or flying over water.
For others it may be around the practicalities – being in a confined space, or not being able to get off and feeling trapped.
Suffering from travel sickness can be unpleasant. This may be an issue in itself, and the whole experience can be exacerbated by embarrassment or fear around being ill.
Quite often there is a universal theme, alongside a person’s particular fears, that we are not in control – of the flight, or maybe of ourselves.
Many of the airlines do great work in offering safety statistics, and it is one of the safest ways to travel. For some just connecting with that can make a difference. But in my NLP and hypnotherapy practice I see people for whom it is a fear untouched by statistics. We need to work at a deeper level. Which is why taking a hypnotherapy and NLP approach to a fear of flying may be helpful.
Overcome Your Fear of Flying with NLP and Hypnotherapy
There are many approaches a practitioner may take when supporting you to overcome your fear of flying with NLP and hypnotherapy. There may be some core aspects that are useful for most people, like relaxation. And then others that will aim to work with and support how that particular person struggles with their fear of flying.
Relaxation is Key
This is the gateway to helping almost everything! Help someone access a calm state is helpful on every level. Being stressed and anxious can be useful in certain situations, but unless you actually are being chased by a sabre-toothed tiger, chances are you are not going to really need that much adrenaline rushing round your system. It is not good for our physical health and also makes it hard for us to think clearly and function well.
Being able to relax when you need to is a wonderful gift to yourself. Most people find the process of hypnotherapy very relaxing in itself. To this we can then add specific aspects of hypnotherapy to help someone access a relaxed and positive place before and during the flight. I often provide a music-backed recording for people to listen to in the run up to travelling and on the day itself.
Connect to a Positive Experience
We can use hypnotherapy to help people to reconnect with times in their lives when they felt very calm, strong, resourceful and able to cope. Helping them to connect with and re-experience these feelings is powerful in itself. And then to have access to those in the situation they find difficult.
If we are using NLP we can support this pathway by creating an NLP Anchor for them. We can also use and deepen these if we choose to use hypnotherapy.
Helping After a Difficult Experience
If you have had a frightening experience that can be a start point for this kind of phobia. It might have been directly to do with flying, or something-else that has had a knock-on effect. We can work with this in a number of different ways. One of which is the Rewind Technique to help you process and move beyond a difficult experience. This approach is used by therapists in a range of situations where people have had a frightening or traumatic experience. It can be used in both NLP and hypnotherapy.
Reframing to help Overcome Your Fear of Flying
This is a wonderful way to support us when we are working with creating a more resourceful mind-set. Reframing in both NLP and hypnotherapy is endlessly versatile and a skill that can be used for self-help too. It needs to be tailored to the individual and will have more power within the context of a consultation, and used alongside other approaches, but to give you some examples:
- Reframe the journey as part of the holiday – to be enjoyed not endured.
- Turbulence is like driving on a bumpy road.
- Time on the journey is an opportunity to recharge batteries, spend with loved ones, look forward to seeing loved ones, seeing somewhere new, etc.
What is Happening Versus What Might Happen
Anxiety is usually about what might happen in the future. Losing sight of the very probable and working through all the difficult but very unlikely outcomes. And for people who are really good at this, they can find their thoughts spiralling out of control as they imagine every disaster possible. Part of working with NLP and hypnotherapy can be to help someone stay in the present moment, connected to a more resourced state. In a nice way it can give you back some of the control you fear losing as you increase your ability to choose your thoughts and have more control over how you feel.
Travel Beyond Your Fear of Flying
If that ability to catastrophise sounds like you, then you are using your thoughts to imagine the future. This may or may not be based on past events, but you are projecting your fear into the future. You may even feel that you have developed this skill to superpower levels.
The good news is that you can learn to use your superpowers for good with NLP and hypnotherapy. You can learn how to use this skill to run positive versions into the future. Focusing on the positives of why you are going, connecting with times when you felt calm and happy, as you see yourself preparing, travelling and enjoying your journey in the way you would like to.
Self-Management Tips for a Fear of Flying
I will often incorporate these into how I work with someone, depending upon what might be the most helpful for them. They are useful self-help tips for most kinds of fear and anxiety.
- Box breathing – this is one of my favourite self-help hacks. It improves Vagal Tone, which helps us to keep calm. This means not only do we feel better but we also maintain our ability to think. Anxiety short circuits our ability to cope, so this is a very useful technique. It will take you less than a minute to learn!
- NLP Reframing – practise thinking about things in a way which makes them more manageable.
- Check in with reality – in the grip of anxiety we are often living in an imagined future scenario. Not what is happening in the present. Bring in the senses to check in with what is happening now, in the present moment. What can you see, hear and touch? Are you actually ok, in this present moment?
- Mentally rehearse the positive version – like a film, see the run up, journey and arrival all going well. Run and practise the positive version in your mind in place of the negative one.
“Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want”
As practitioners, when we are working to overcome your fear of flying with NLP and hypnotherapy we can aim to establish and embed these to enhance the individually tailored approaches I mentioned previously.
Self-Care for a Fear of Flying
Most of these are common sense but can become lost in amongst the busyness of getting ready to travel.
- Prepare as well as you can – organise yourself to minimise stress, and don’t do denial so it is a disorganised and unsupportive rush on the day!
- Avoid caffeine – this is a stimulant which winds up your adrenal and nervous system. It won’t help.
- Reduce or avoid alcohol – generally drinking too much won’t help either. It brings its own problems and will leave you feeling even less resourced to take things in your stride.
- Eat sensibly and keep hydrated – it will help you manage your mood and feel better overall.
- Take things to focus on – distraction can work wonders. Things to read, puzzles, and maybe listen to relaxation or hypnotherapy recordings if you have them. You may need to check airline guidelines for which devices you can listen to, when and in which modes!
Overcoming a Fear of Flying and Travel Sickness
Travel sickness can be so severe in itself that as well as being thoroughly unpleasant, it becomes a part of, and can add to, a fear of flying. For some people they can also have a specific fear of being sick – emetophobia. It is important to understand what is happening for each person and to tailor the support for them.
You can read about how we used NLP and Hypnotherapy for Travel Sickness for a patient I worked with if this affects you too.
Taking an Individually-Tailored Approach to a Fear of Flying
Whilst there may be things people have in common when they have a fear of flying, they will also be experiencing this in their own unique way and for different reasons. I have found taking an individually-tailored approach using whichever resources from NLP and hypnotherapy we feel will be the most helpful is usually the best way forward. It is an area I really enjoy working with and I love hearing about how people had a better time flying, and sometimes even enjoyed it!
I hope you have found this blog giving information on how to overcome your fear of flying with NLP and hypnotherapy to be of interest. I see patients at both clinics, in Lewes in East Sussex, and also in Barns Green in West Sussex. If you would like a free mini-appointment to see if my approach would suit you, please contact me and I look forward to hearing from you.