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Fear of Flying - it just FEELS dangerous

So, how dangerous is flying? I’m not asking how dangerous it feels – because for many people the answer is “very”! But – how dangerous is it actually?

<h2>Fear of Flying sells papers!</h2>

I’ve done a quick search on just one on-line newspaper, for the last 3 month period. Headlines include “terrified couple reveal they texted desperate last goodbyes”* “engine trouble prompts emergency landing”, “terrified passengers in tears”, “Emergency landing after seat overheats and sets off alarm” “Emergency landing as woman goes into labour” “Emergency landing after plane hit by bird” “Another emergency landing after smoke in baggage hold” “pilot hailed a hero after landing undercarriage failure jet”. And this is just a tiny selection – about half a page worth of stories from over 20 pages of results.

(*Except they weren’t last goodbyes of course because the only harmful thing that happened to that couple was that they spent the flight in a state of unnecessary panic!)

What do all of these stories have in common (apart from being completely sensationalist, obviously!)? That’s easy. Not a single person sustained any injury. Not so much as a bruise or a broken fingernail. Not very exciting though. Stories in the papers a few months ago talked of a “drunk pilot” who was arrested by police “moments before take off”. This is completely misleading! “Moments before take-off” would mean the plane was travelling at hundreds of miles an hour, and even the speediest copper in the world would find it difficult to catch the plane and board it to make the arrest….  what they meant was “some time just before the plane even started to travel at about five miles an hour on its way to the runway”. But this isn’t very exciting either and doesn’t make such dramatic reading!

Using the phrase “emergency landing” gives an idea of screaming passengers, an expected crash, being moments from death. But what emergency landing really means is “unscheduled landing” – in other words, just at a time or in a place not originally planned. All the “emergency landings” in the newspaper I looked at were at airports. The vast majority were caused by passengers becoming ill or causing problems with drunken or aggressive behaviour. Absolutely all were prompted by the fantastic safety standards which govern modern aviation. And NO-ONE WAS HURT. But “unscheduled landing where no-one was hurt” or the completely accurate “Nothing happened” don’t sell newspapers or advertising space! What the lurid headlines do however is to make people with flying phobia even more afraid of flying.

So much of the perception that flying is dangerous comes from sensational reporting like this. It’s what sells papers. But for the huge number of people who suffer aerophobia – fear of flying – these stories are extremely unhelpful.  As are the ones which talk of “near misses” – in other words, where NOTHING ACTUALLY HAPPENED; or where passengers who’ve flown through turbulence speak of ” plummeting thousands of feet”; experienced pilots will tell you that this doesn’t happen – but people’s feelings and perceptions are changed by the fear they experience when flying.

Imagine for a moment if the papers reported every near miss of cars, buses and bikes in this way – every edition of every paper would fill all the rooms in your house from top to bottom! We pay more attention to stories about flying because it FEELS more risky.

Ask yourself this – if the Trafford Centre lift doors opened and you could see a man with a bloodied axe and a wild look; would you get in?! No. Of course not. Because you’re not irrational when it comes to your safety. But although many people say they feel extremely anxious and panicky on a plane, they still get on. They wouldn’t, though, if they really believed they were risking death. They know, on some deep level, that it just the FEELING of danger which is bothering them. They associate flying with feelings of fear.

Much of the problem is that when we’re flying, we know we’re not in control. The uncomfortable truth is, though, that we’re not in control for so much of our lives generally – stress at work is usually dependent on a difficult manager, or the economy generally; when we’re driving our cars, our safety depends on others driving safety and obeying the rules of the road; whilst we can try and stay healthy by not smoking, eating well and not drinking excessively, no-one knows what the future holds for their health. And we make ourselves anxious by trying to control things which are out of our control. But if we learn to relax and let go, we can enjoy life.

<h2>Manchester Hypnotherapy – Fear of Flying Treatment</h2>

At Manchester Hypnotherapy our experienced therapists can help you relax when you next fly. Whilst you are in the therapy session, you’ll be encouraged to imagine the different parts of a flight, in gradual steps from the least scary to the most scary part – because all a phobia is is a strong association between thoughts of particular situation and feelings of fear. By thinking of these situations when you’re feeling calm, confident and in control, your irrational fear is resolved.

But don’t take our word for it – look at the independent <a href=”/reviews”>reviews</a> and see what our clients have to say about it – <a href=”/treatments/fear-of-flying”>fear of flying</a> is something we treat frequently and many of the reviews are from Manchester Hypnotherapy clients who have successfully overcome their flying phobia.

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