The Seven Surprising Skills You Must Have to Get Rid of Your Fear of Flying

June 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

Are you terrified to fly?  Do you avoid any travel that involves flying, or at least wish you could?  It is possible to get rid of your fear of flying once and for all, as long as you are able to do these seven simple things:


1.  Can you imagine yourself getting on an airplane when you are safe in the comfort of your home?   Imagination is important in this process.


2.  Are you willing to live through your fear one more time, but only in small, incremental doses that you can easily handle?


3.  Do you know how to scan your body for tension and stress?  If not, would you be willing to let someone show you?  (It’s not hard at all.)


4.  Do you have a good enough imagination to talk to the areas of your body in which you hold stress?  Believe it or not, sometimes information is stored in our bodies and not in our minds, and getting that stored information can be key to releasing a fear.


5.  Are you willing to be led through a simple tapping procedure on several areas of your body, from the top of your head to under your armpits, even if you might feel a little silly doing it?  


6.  Do you know how to observe your thoughts to see what gets triggered when you start feeling the fear?


7.  Are you willing to at least try to forgive yourself for having a fear that has embarrassed you, inconvenienced you and let other people see you sweat?


If you can do all those things, or are willing to learn how, you are a perfect candidate to get rid of your fear of flying forever using Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) .  You can download a beginner’s manual here and see how far you get on your own, or you can do it even faster with an Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner.


When you use EFT (we call it  “tapping”), you will not start with your fear of flying – that is too scary.  Instead, you will start tapping on how you feel about even thinking about flying.  We start that gently.  EFT is known for many things, such as being extremely effective in a short amount of time, but it is also known for being so gentle that it is perfect to use even with very young children.


So we start the session by finding out how much it scares you to even think about feeling the feelings that come with flying.  EFT clients rate the intensity of their feelings on a scale of 0 to 10, with zero being absolutely no intensity, and 10 being the strongest intensity they have ever felt.  Every now and then, a client give me an intensity of 20 or 30 on a scale of 1 to 10.  I get it – I’ve been there too for various fears in my life.  And those “Over 10’s” end up doing just as well as everyone else.  After you have rated the intensity of what you are feeling, we do a gentle tapping technique, along with stating some empowering affirmations, until you are no longer bothered by the thought that we are going to delve into a fear that may feel like it is part of you by now.


Next, a good practitioner will ask a few questions.  How long ago did this fear start?  Do you know what started it?  Some people know exactly what started their fear, but many people have no idea.  Either way is fine – we are just getting some background information here.  If you don’t know where the fear is coming from, chances are this situation is making you feel a little crazy.  But don’t worry, you aren’t crazy for being terrified of flying.  Somewhere in your past, you made an association that flying equals a terrible thing happening; we just have to find the connection that is wreaking havoc in your life and open it up like the door of a cage.  


Next we do more tapping.  If there is an event that you associate with your fears, we will address that.  Sometimes a tapping session is like opening up one little Russian nesting doll after another and finding that the cause of the fear lies nestled at the bottom of the smallest doll, just waiting to finally be seen and released.  One client of mine had parents who travelled often and left her and her siblings home with her grandmother from a young age.  For her, the worst thing that could have happened would have been that her parents wouldn’t return, since she really hated being with her grandmother.  And the most obvious reason that they wouldn’t have come back for her would have been if their plane had crashed.  By the time she was in her early 20’s and ready for her own travelling adventures, she had pushed her unpleasant experiences with her grandmother to the back of her mind, but she had also, without being aware of it, firmly linked flying with the expectation of death and she was terrified to get onto a plane.  (She had excellent results in our work together, and now when she flies, she skips the cocktails and takes a peaceful nap instead.)  


Other times, it is a memory of a past event that is causing the problem.   I had another client who was on an overseas flight that hit serious turbulence without warning.  The plane suddenly dropped 20 feet, and he watched a slightly built woman who was walking toward the back of the plane at that moment slam her head on the ceiling of the plane.  Other passengers were jostled wildly. People were screaming and the flight attendants were so busy trying to keep themselves from flying through the air that they were not able to do much for the passengers.  The turbulence did not last long, according to my client, but by the time his two weeks in Japan were over, he was dreading the return flight home.  In his case, we tapped on every aspect of what he saw, heard, felt kinesthetically and felt emotionally during the event, until he could go through the entire sequence without feeling any charge.  He is now back to flying for business and pleasure without any fear at all.


If a past memory is traumatic enough, the memory will not be encoded as words that can be spoken, but as pictures, strong emotions and bodily sensations that feel dangerous and chaotic.  This is why no human can ever talk their way into a cure for a serious trauma; the trauma does not live in the part of the brain that talks.  And if the past event was frightening enough, it can affect the areas of the brain that allow us to speak about the event.  That’s why terrified people are not always articulate about what is scaring them.  It’s not easy to live with this, but it’s just the way the brain works.  Luckily, trauma can be healed with this process!  A skillful practitioner will always check in with you to see how your body feels during a session because if you don’t have words for something, the body is carrying it for you, and it will be grateful for the opportunity to release what it has been holding all this time.


 One funny thing about removing a fear is that we don’t always notice when it leaves.  For this reason, when my used-to-be-afraid-of-flying clients are headed off for their first flight after our work together is completed, I will make every effort to be on call for them by phone when they are getting on their plane (no charge!). Every now and then there is a little bit of clean up work to do in order for my clients to feel 100 percent comfortable on their plane ride, but usually, they are done with their fear forever after three to five sessions.


It’s up to you, of course, but I would strongly encourage you to deal with any fears you have about flying because you don’t have to live with your fear for another minute, unless you want to.  Download the EFT manual or call a practitioner.  Work by Skype so you don’t have to get on a plane until your fears are gone.  Let’s just get it done!!



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