If you have developed a fear of flying, then you are certainly not alone. A recent article estimated that between 33 and 40% of people have anxiety linked to flying. Using hypnosis for fear of flying can be a very effective way to help relieve the stress associated with flying and give you back the confidence to travel by plane again.

Perhaps you were a seasoned traveller and your anxiety is related to a specific event. Perhaps you experienced bad turbulence on a flight or were a passenger on a plane that had a difficult landing. This may now mean that you are experiencing an emotional reaction each time you think about flying. In this instance, you have developed a flying phobia (aerophobia).

Hypnosis for fear of flying can be used to quickly and safely remove your phobia.

You can watch a client interview here, where you can see how the online method I used transformed Dee’s life. Hypnotherapy changed her from being a person who previously needed to use medication to board a plane into one who was calm and relaxed when travelling. In fact, she was so calm and relaxed that she was the first to board the plane on her return journey!

Why have you created a flying phobia?

There can be a number of different reasons why flying is now causing you to be anxious. These will be very individual to you. Your anxiety lies in the older, emotional primitive part of your brain. Anxiety usually builds up over time. There doesn’t need to have been one specific event to create anxiety.

When we are stressed or anxious we think from our primitive brain. Unfortunately, this part of your brain can only think within 3 different parameters; anxiety, depression or anger or a combination of all 3.

Your security guard

a child dressing up as a security guard

Your primitive brain is a very negative brain. It will always see things from the worst possible perspective. It’s essentially looking out to protect you and help you to survive. It’s one of the reasons why we thrived as a species. When our ancestors saw a sabre-toothed tiger close by, they didn’t think about whether or not it was hungry.

They just reacted instantly to help their survival chances. In fact, it is not possible to think rationally when your stress response has been activated. That part of your brain is shut down.

Our primitive brain is said to have the emotional intelligence and rationale of a 4 to 5-year-old child. It therefore very often gets things wrong and tries to protect us from things that actually aren’t life-threatening. If you begin to think about flying in a negative way then it can start to enter your thought processes more often.

Your primitive brain can then register flying as a threat. In its misguided attempt to keep you safe, the thought or act of flying can now initiate your stress response.

Following the same pathway

A path through the woods

Your primitive brain cannot be innovative. Once it recognises flying as being a threat then you will react in the same way. You would like to think that you are able to use reasoning to control your stress response. You may have been on hundreds of flights with no issues. If your primitive brain has now recognised flying as a threat, then unfortunately it can’t be reasoned with.

The part of your brain responsible for logical thought can’t be accessed. Instead, your thinking comes from the irrational emotional part of your brain which is looking to help you survive.

It doesn’t need to have been a particular event that is the cause of your flying anxiety. If you were not a particularly confident flyer, then it’s very easy for negative thoughts about flying to shape your thinking.

Anxiety – A constant companion

Anxiety can be gradually built up over a period of weeks or months. It is created when you think negatively or worry about a particular event. The more you worry about the event then the more anxiety you create. You can then start to catastrophize. The small initial thought snowballs into a completely negative way of thinking surrounding flying.

If your generalised anxiety levels are quite high, then it is much more likely that you will continue to catastrophize about the thought of flying.

Most of us are very familiar with the saying ‘you are what you eat’ but a similar adage ‘you are what you think’ also runs true. Your brain has an amazing ability to change and develop. This process is known as neuroplasticity. The way you think shapes your character and behaviour.

You will unconsciously react in a certain way depending on your previous thought processes around an event.  So if you regularly think negatively about flying, you can build up pathways in your brain that confirm that flying is something to be fearful of.

Neuroplasticity – Your brain evolving pathways

A picture of the brain showing new pathways represented by light bulbs

Imagine yourself standing at the edge of a grassy meadow. It’s completely unspoilt as no one has been there before. You decide on this beautiful sunny day that you want to cross the meadow, so you start to walk across the untouched grass. You reach the other side and look back and notice that you have started to create a little path.

Most of the grass remains upright but you can look back and see some grass has been trampled along your route.

On the way back you decide to trace your path and so tread down a bit more grass. You quite enjoyed today’s walk so you decide to take a daily walk across the meadow always following this same route. Eventually, as the weeks go by you notice that the grass is no longer growing along the path. It has become completely flattened. You’ve created a newly established pathway.

When you first made the track it was a conscious decision to walk down the same path. With time and repetition, it became an unconscious decision. You got to the edge of the meadow and without a second thought, you followed the same route. And so it is when you build up neural pathways in your brain. Repetition builds up these pathways in your brain which means that you will have the same reaction to your thoughts associated with flying.

Hypnotherapy for flying phobia

woman smiling on a plane after successful hypnosis for fear of flying

Solution-focused hypnotherapy uses a combination of psychotherapy and hypnosis to help you to achieve freedom from your anxiety around flying. It is both future and outcome-focused. There is no need for you to visit your past and try to analyse when or why your anxiety started. Our focus is on how you want to feel, think and act before, during and after your flight.

If we go back to the metaphor of the meadow, what solution-focused hypnotherapy for flying anxiety allows you to do is start to create a new path. Instead of always unconsciously following the same route you now start to build a new path. With time this new path becomes the established way of thinking and the old unused track is forgotten.

In your brain, you have built up new connections and neural pathways which allow you to think positively about flying. When you think positively then no anxiety is created.

Over a period of just a few weeks, solution-focused hypnotherapy helps to reduce general stress and anxiety levels and increases levels of confidence. By doing so you enable yourself to think from the more intellectual parts of your brain. This leaves your primitive brain to do its intended job of protecting you from genuine life-threatening situations.

The intellectual part of your brain is under no illusion that flying is a part of your life that can bring benefit and enjoyment.

What is hypnosis?

You will probably have heard of both the terms hypnosis and trance. They can really be thought of as being interchangeable. They both describe a time when you experience a shift in your conscious awareness. It’s often described as being in a daydream. So when you gaze out of the window you have gone into trance. It’s thought that we go into trance roughly every 6 to 7 minutes throughout our waking hours.

You may recall a time when you arrived at work in your car and wondered how you got there. You have no memory of driving. Your unconscious brain was behind all the thought processes needed to drive the car. Your conscious mind was concentrating on more important matters like a business meeting that you were attending that morning. While you were driving you were in a natural trance state.

Trance is a great problem-solving state that we naturally go into many times during our day.

How does hypnosis for fear of flying work?

Hypnosis for fear of flying

During the light trance state used in solution-focused hypnotherapy, your brain is able to not only build new positive pathways but also take the emotional edge of older memories. By mimicking your REM state, hypnosis helps you to control stress.

This allows you to take control over your thoughts and think with logic and reason. It also completely shuts off your supply of noradrenaline, one of your body’s main stress hormones. You, therefore, come back to full consciousness feeling calm and relaxed.

During hypnosis, our brain waves alter. When we are awake and especially if we are anxious our beta waves are predominant. However, when we are in a relaxed trance state this activity lessens allowing our calming delta waves to relax us.

Our alpha and theta waves then become more influential. These enable us to visualise and then come up with solutions to our problems. Just like we do when we are in our natural REM dream state.

Solution-focused hypnotherapy for fear of flying – Phobias

A phobia can be described as an extreme, overwhelming or debilitating fear of an object, place, situation or feeling. When we experience a phobia, it can trigger an overwhelming physical and emotional response instantly engaging our fight/flight/freeze mode. A severe reaction can often lead to a panic attack.

There are common phobias such as the fear of flying, dentists or confined spaces. There are also less common ones such as lollipop sticks, buttons and zips. They can all initiate a stress response. When the brain recognises the object or situation then stress hormones are instantly produced.

This increases both breathing and heart rate which enables you to run as fast as you can away from the perceived danger. Sometimes if the fear is particularly strong you can lose the ability to run and instead you find yourself frozen with fear.

How do Phobias Develop?

Phobias can often develop in childhood. As a child, if you noticed the negative reaction of a parent to flying, then you learnt that flying was something to be frightened of. Your brain linked fear to flying and then built up neural pathways inside your own brain to help protect you. Your brain now thinks of flying as a traumatic event. Whenever you think about flying you initiate your stress response and feel anxious.

It’s also possible to develop a phobia of flying if you have experienced a turbulent flight. It is even possible to develop a fear of flying from just watching a disaster movie including plane crashes. Much like the example above your brain now associates fear with flying.

In both instances, a phobic template has been lodged in your brain. Thankfully a highly trained hypnotherapist can quickly and safely remove this fear template and reframe future thoughts so that all negative associations disappear.

You can watch a client interview here, where you can see how the online method I used transformed Dee’s life. Hypnotherapy changed her from being a person who previously needed to use medication to board a plane into one who was calmed and relaxed when travelling. In fact, she was so calm and relaxed that she was the first to board the plane on her return journey!

Online hypnosis for fear of flying

Online Hypnotherapy

One of the major benefits of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy for fear of flying is that it can be carried out via Zoom. The therapy can actually be more beneficial when you are in your own familiar surroundings as you may find it easier to relax and enter a trance state.

If you would like to find out more about the benefits of online hypnotherapy, please use this link.

How do I find out more about hypnotherapy for a flying phobia?

If you would like to find out more about how together we can use hypnotherapy for fear of flying to allow you to fly with confidence, then please get in touch for your free initial consultation.

Author: Ian Murton HPD DSFH AfSFH Reg NCH Reg CNHC Reg is an award-winning Solution Focused Hypnotherapist running sessions via Zoom from his home on the Bedfordshire/ Hertfordshire border.

Perhaps you might be interested in reading some of my other blogs:

Can hypnotherapy help with anxiety?

Case Study: How Solution Focused Hypnotherapy Calms Anxiety

How hypnosis to stop smoking works

What is solution-focused hypnotherapy?



Anxiety UK Approved Therapist
REST registered tutor
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