Fear of Flying

Is this you?

 

I get no kick in a plane
Flying too high with some guy in the sky
Is my idea of nothing (I want) to do…

(with thanks to Cole Porter)

 

Getting on a plane with great regularity is a way of life for many people. Despite the fact that we all have mobile phones, the internet, Skype, Zoom, there is nothing quite like eye-balling someone in the same room as you, or shaking their warm hand, to help you feel at ease and close the deal! So what happens if you actually hate the flying part – if you get so anxious about the trip itself, not the deal you need to do at the other end, that you sleep badly, you can’t eat, you feel nauseous, you sweat profusely, and you can’t look at anyone else on board lest they should suggest that you be prevented from travelling because you look like a terrorist?! Then there are also those who have family or close friends in another part of the world but who they are desperate to see but they just can’t face the idea of the plane trip to get there.

Fear of Flying is pretty common, and like most things, lies on a spectrum from just can’t do it (full stop) through to make yourself do it all the time but hate every minute of it to down the other end where it makes you nervous but you have a couple of drinks the minute you board and get over it! The technical name for fear of flying is aerophobia and can include components of claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces), agoraphobia (fear of being in a situation you can’t get away from) and acrophobia (fear of heights).

What is Fear of Flying all about?

The signs of a Fear of Flying as indicated above can include nausea, sweating, shaking, elevated heart rate, shallow breathing and uncontrollable emotions. It comes from the oldest part of your brain and is the Fight or Flight response (no pun intended – Flight being fleeing away rather than up in the air!).

Why does it happen?

Well let’s not mince words here! Flying is not a natural state for human beings! You do not come with wings attached! However humans were given massive brains and we have figured out how to fly, with relative safety – to ourselves – if not the environment and the atmosphere! So why do some people have a fear of flying and others don’t? As with anything a fear of flying may come from an experience that you had which you have no conscious memory of – being dropped as a baby, falling off a swing as a toddler – or may come from an experience that one of your ancestors had and has been carried through your gene pool. (Of course you may have a clear understanding of your fear coming from that time when a plane you were on had to turn around and go back to where you departed due to a ‘technical difficulty’, or simply all the plane horror stories in the news).

Grounding

As Chakras (energy centres) are my bread and butter it is important to take a moment to discuss the first chakra – the root or base chakra. This is the first energy centre that you develop from birth and is key to your fight or flight response and therefore your fear of flying. The need to feel supported by and connected to the earth is an innate human characteristic and is one that is directly counter to the act of flying! Make sure that both before and after you fly you do some activities to activate and balance your first chakra – walking in nature is the best and easiest. If you can connect your bare feet to the earth, grass or sand this is even better. If you can’t do this then use your meditation to visualise the chakra – a clockwise vortex of warm, red spinning energy. You can also visualise the cord of connection from the chakra to the earth’s centre as elastic. moveable and able to stretch all the way to keep you connected to the earth whilst you’re on board that plane. For more information please refer to my First Chakra Tips Sheet.

How to manage and overcome a Fear of Flying

It’s part of our incredible make up that means that our emotional and physiological states both have direct influence on eachother. You can use this to your advantage with any phobia. For example if you force yourself to breathe deeply you actually do relax physically – your heart rate slows, you stop sweating profusely, and your gut stops churning because you are activating the parasympathetic nervous system (check out my Blog on the Breath of Life for more information). If you do a lot of exercise before flying to use up a lot of your adrenaline supplies, you will be less likely to feel nervous.

Meditation is always fantastic for dealing any kind of fear as well – try visualisation eg. picture yourself walking exuberantly off the plane at the other end, try mindfulness to enjoy being in the moment – forced to sit still and read your favourite mag – rather than worrying about what may happen in the future, or use a mantra to still your thoughts. Meditating on a plane can really allow you to distract yourself from your fears. Try the meditation app Insight Timer – with almost 8000 different mediations available there is bound to be one that you like!

Essential oils – can have amazing impacts on emotions because they work on all energetic levels – try any calming oils such as lavender, orange, sandalwood, or blends such as Peace or Balance. Use the oils topically on the back of your neck, your temples or the tips of your thumbs or big toes, or right on the bottoms of your feet – remember to dilute with a carrier oil or sorbolene, especially if you have sensitive skin. Alternatively you can put a few drops of oil on a tissue or handkerchief that you can breathe in before and during the flight.

Reiki – because reiki works on the underlying causes of any condition – physical, mental, emotional or spritiatual – even if you don’t consciously recognise what they are, it is a wonderful tool to use to deal with fears or phobias of any kind. It is best to have a session a few days before you fly because a lot of energy movement can actually make you feel worse rather than better initially! Remember that you can also access Distance Reiki if before you fly home!

Please contact me for any further information or click here to book a session before your next trip!