In this month’s article, I’m going to talk about fear of flying. This makes up about 80% of my work with my clients, thanks mainly to my interventions that you can see on the BBC and YouTube.
It’s said that one in four people have a fear of flying, however, a fear of flying can mean different things to different people. For some it can mean slight nerves that quickly go away with a glass of wine. For others it can be simply seeing an aeroplane in the sky or hearing the word and they start convulsing on the ground.
Today’s method is good for a light to medium fear of flying, for a major fear of flying it’s worth seeking out a trained practitioner to work with you.
While the intensity of a flying phobia is different from person to person, so too are the triggers that cause a person to be fearful on a plane.
A good place to start identifying the triggers is to make a note of all the aspects of flying from booking the flight to travelling to the airport, waiting at customs, the sound of the plane, the doors closing, the seatbelt sign, the safety announcements, take off, landing, the journey home and so on.
Take your time and think about all the aspects of your journey. Once you have done this number each part of the journey from 0 to 10, 0 being no fear at all and 10 being terrified. Using this method, you can work out which parts of the journey trigger your fear of flying the most.
Starting with the parts numbered 10 (if you have no 10’s go to 9 and so on) take the first one and focus what you see, feel and hear in that moment. Notice where in your body you have the feelings and what you picture in your mind.
Then take 2 fingers and tap each of the following places in order, for about five seconds each while thinking about the event:
- Hand – Take two fingers and tap on the part of your hand that you would use to do a karate style chop.
- Fingers – Tap each finger either side of the nail.
- Eyebrow – Tap just above and to one side of the nose, at the beginning of the eyebrow.
- Side of the Eye – Tap the bone bordering the outside corner of the eye.
- Under the Eye – Tap the bone under the eye about one inch below your pupil.
- Under the Nose – Tap the indent between the bottom of your nose and the top of your upper lip.
- Chin – Tap midway between the point of your chin and the bottom of your lower lip.
- Collar Bone – Tap the junction where the sternum (breastbone), collarbone and the first rib meet.
- Under the Arm – Tap the side of the body, about four inches below the armpit.
- Top of the Head – Tap with your fingers back-to-back down the centre of the skull.
Once you have done this move your eyes left and right 7 times and focus on the fearful image. Imagine you had a tv control and you turn the colour down on the fearful image and now imagine it 10 times smaller.
Repeat this process till the fear is low or 0.
Then move onto the next part of your fear of flying that’s a 10. Once you have done all the 10s do all the 9s then the 8s and so on.
Next create a positive link. Imagine a time in the past where you were looking into a loved one’s eyes and you felt completely connected. This could be a person or a pet and if you cannot think of a time, imagine what it would be like.
Remember what you saw, heard and felt in that moment. Make it bright and powerful, then at the very peak when you are fully experiencing it, just pull gently on your ear. hold onto your ear only as long as you can fully experience that past event. The second it starts to fade away let go.
Now remember a time when you felt really happy. Imagine your favourite comedian or day with friends or family and again become fully present with this past event and at the peak of the experience, pull on your ear and hold until the emotion dissipates and then release.
Keep doing this process with any other powerful positive emotions from your past you can think of and lock the thoughts and feelings in your mind.
Once you’ve built this trigger powerfully enough, test by gently pulling your ear. You should find the very act of doing this has become linked to those positive emotions.
Now, going back to all those instances that trigger your fear of flying, imagine that taking your flight was a movie. Starting at the beginning, whether it is booking your ticket, travelling to the airport, or something else that works for you, run through the whole journey in your mind. If at any point you still feel fearful, just pull on your ear. The positive link you have created should cancel out the fear as long as it has been built strong enough. If it is you should find your fear reduces.
Run through this whole movie all the way to the end pulling on your ear at any other parts of your flight where fear comes up. Go back to the beginning of your flying movie again and run through it. Notice the difference. If you still feel fear, keep repeating the process until it’s gone.
You should find with practise your fear of flying will became less of a problem and you can become a happy flyer.
Christopher Paul Jones,
Anxiety and Phobia Expert,