Well have you actually thought about what your fear or phobia is all about?
If you ask a group of people what that means to them, they will all give you different answers. These may be along the lines of ‘Oh, I was ok until I went on a flight and it became very bumpy, there was lightening and we were all scared’ or ‘I’m claustrophobic and when they shut the cabin door I always want to escape’ or ‘Flying is dangerous and we might crash’. There are many more reasons or perceived triggers why someone may think that they developed their fear or phobia. I will come back to that point later on. Have a think about what it really is you may be scared of, is it really the journey or plane or is it more to do with the fear of being out of control.
Feeling good about yourself and being in control.
People who develop what seems to be an irrational fear or phobia of any kind usually do suffer from some level of anxiety, which is mainly about the inability to manage their thoughts and emotions effectively, haven’t learned the appropriate coping skills yet and poor psychological foundations. If you feel good about yourself, you feel in control, you have coping skills, you don’t pay unnecessary attention to what others think of you, you are resilient and can move forward in your life then you don’t develop negative thinking, anxiety, fears, phobias, unwanted habits etc. What you do do, is to get on with it, deal with whatever is happening at the time in a helpful way, have a good perspective on everything in your life and can rebound relatively quickly from those unpredictable and unexpected occurrences in life eg a bumpy flight or even a full on tragedy.
We all know people who go through seemingly awful things in their life yet they carry on, they get better, they put their lives back together and they achieve things. This is because somewhere along the way they have developed those strong psychological foundations, they know their own worth and are able to be in control of their thinking and emotions, they probably respect others but do not bow to pressure or someone else’s opinion when they know it is wrong to do so. More importantly they don’t see not achieving as a failure, they see it as an opportunity to learn something and do something differently so that you get a different result next time. These people are also more likely to be proud of the effort they made when they do something, rather than the result they obtained.
Pride and empowerment.
Wimbledon tennis tournament is currently in progress at the moment and I heard one of our GB lady players being interviewed on the radio (I didn’t catch who it was) but she had won through to the next round and stated that she was proud of the way she played and that her main aim is to remain in the competition. To me this statement is saying that she is taking responsibility for herself and not saying stuff like ‘My aim is to win the tournament’, which, at her current level may not be achievable or realistic and how disappointed would she be if she gets knocked out in the next round. Also this player is not setting her bar too high, she is being realistic and not employing any sense of perfectionism. After all what it the opposite of perfectionism? Of course it is to fail – perfectionists fear failure. What it also says is that this player is focused on the moment rather than jumping ahead so that she can give all of her energy to what she is doing right now therefore empowering herself. Conversely if you give all of your energy to what went before or what may happen in the future in a negative way it stops you from focusing on what you want to have happen right now!
Emile Coue’s law of reversed effort states ‘When the will (thinking mind) and the subconscious (imagination) are in conflict, the imagination invariably gains the day because the intensity of the attention you pay to your imagination can contribute to success or failure. So the key to combating Coue’s law is to ‘Always imagine what you want to have happen and not what you fear may happen’. Make sense, google it for a full description?
Is your thinking getting in the way of your conquering your phobia?
A huge part of your fear or phobia is the way that you think about flying. Contrary to most people’s beliefs about their thoughts, they don’t just pop in there unannounced. YOU create them, you have just become really good at it in the way you learned to ride a bike or catch a ball when you were a nipper. You practiced and practiced until you no longer needed to think about how to do it, you just could! That seems now like an automatic process to you but it still is a process. In order to catch that ball you have to think that you are going to catch it and your body responds, it’s just such a fast response that you don’t notice the process any more. Think about that first bike experience, you had to know where to put your feet and hands, you had to learn how to balance and turn corners, back up when you reached the wall and ride in relatively straight lines. Now when you get on a bike you don’t even have to pay much attention unless, like me you are a little bit rusty (to say the least) but you would soon build that confidence back up and away you would go.
So your phobia of flying is just the same, you have practiced that way of thinking which produces the fear (fight, flight, freeze or collapse response) so often generating anticipatory anxiety and during the event, the real time anxiety that you think it just washed over you and that you have no control.
But how do I learn how to get rid of my fear?
I’ll start of with a funny story that a client (who is well on her way to beating her phobias, which there are several and flying being only one of those) told me this week. She said that she had managed to get on the plane with her Mum and Dad in the seat behind however her and her husband were separated in their row by a lady who had the middle seat (at the time this wasn’t helping my client’s fear at all as you can imagine). As the cabin door closed and they prepared to taxi she suddenly jumped up (her flight response – no pun intended) and said she was getting off. The lady (never met her before) next to her instantly grabbed my clients arm and pulled her down, fastened her seat belt back up for her and rummaged in the bag under her own seat and poured a tumbler of wine saying ‘Get thass down yer neck luv’ – in my best Liverpool accent. She also didn’t shut up for the rest of the flight which meant my client didn’t have time to think about her fear and was fine. So where did the fear go then? This is exactly what her husband said to her at the time. This backs up the fact that what you are thinking determines how you feel at any one time. Thoughts produce emotion rather than the other way around. So it makes absolute sense that if you learn how to manage your thoughts well then you will get used to them being helpful, rather than unhelpful. You will then also create new neural pathways so that the habit of thinking in a helpful way will become ingrained. Eventually it becomes like catching that ball or riding that bike. Tolerance or the inability to tolerate uncomfortable feelings I should say is also a big part of your phobia. Because you have a desire to escape or employ your safety seeking and avoidance behaviours you never develop your tolerance level or therefore your coping mechanisms with regard to flying.
Here’s the rub!
Sounds really simple doesn’t it but like anything in life and in reality it takes hard work and effort in order to make it happen. You need to dedicate yourself to finding a way to learn how to do things differently, how to become resilient and how to change your life and therefore free yourself from your phobia and your fears, in effect.
There are lots of ways of helping yourself to do that but one way which is close to my heart and I believe is THE most effective way is to learn how to Thrive with the Thrive Programme. I say this confidently not only because of the fantastic results I have had with my clients but because Thrive is based upon very solid scientific research and not only have we got our own research survey into it’s efficacy – check out the results here http://thrivewithpat.com/emetophobia/ we have literally hundreds of pieces of evidence in the form of video testimonials, book reviews on Amazon some of which are on my website www.thrivewithpat.com and others on www.thriveprogramme.org We also have a specific fear of flying programme called Fly Happy.
So if you really want to beat your phobia for good please do get in touch today, don’t wait until you are so anxious about going away that you are tempted to cancel. These same principles apply also to travelling on any form of transport, including cars any other fears or phobias you may have. I have been helping my clients to successfully overcome their fears, phobias and anxiety since 2003 and a particular expertise of mine lies in combating fears and phobias including emetophobia (the fear of being sick, or others being sick around you) which is one of, if not the most complex phobias anyone could develop.
Call 07984177527, email firstname.lastname@example.org or look me up on Facebook and send a message to @thrivewithpatharland or @thrivewithpat on twitter. Free initial chat available – appointments available in person in Liverpool, Chester or Wirral and on skype, facetime, zoom, messenger or whatsapp