Fear of flying affects up to 25% of people so it's extremely common, the majority of these affected have only minor symptoms that they can overcome and still fly. However it's estimated that around 10% of people avoid flights due to their fears, that's up to 6 million flights a year.
Interestingly the fear usually starts around the age of 30 years and may be kicked off by the following:
Each of these incidents causes a trauma capsule in the subconscious mind, A trauma capsule is made up of all the different aspects of your fearful event - all the sights, sounds, smells, feelings that happened during the trauma. It only takes one of these triggers to be activated to set off a "flight or fight" reaction in the body with a rush of adrenaline and noradrenaline flooding the body. As the person affected usually cannot do anything to disperse this rush of chemicals as they are strapped into their seat, they get a tingly anxious feeling, stomach pains, sweating, and raised heartbeat which can last for up to 20 minutes after which the hormone is re-absorbed by the body.
There's lots of help available even if you suffer from severe anxiety attacks when flying and today I'm going to share some of the best ones I know.
Interestingly I find that some people who book help with their fear of flying cancel their appointment due to a fear of tackling the problem. They have little hope of changing as you have to be ready and want to change and if your not at this point any program you try is very unlikely to work.
The alternative people choose is to try to cope with self medication usually with pills or alcohol even though this hasn't cured the problem for them in the past and is highly unlikely to make anything other than a short term numbing of the senses.
People understandably are afraid to face their fears as they don't want to have the reaction again in front of a stranger and embarrass themselves. The vast majority of people with fear of flying believe they can't be helped yet the facts are that fear of flying programs developed by both the airline companies or therapists have a very high success rate.
I use a hypnosis system called PSTEC (Percussive suggestion technique) along with EFT (Emotional freedom technique) or tapping as it's sometimes known.
There's also the option of buying an MP3 hypnosis download that you can play in the weeks before their next flight, you can even listen to it on the plane! This is a cheap alternative to booking therapy sessions and is a good first step, Look for audio's that aren't just relaxation tracks but are designed to clear the triggers so that you don't get the rush of adrenaline causing your fears.