When we crash, do my clothes fall off?
This article covers some of the questions that people with a fear of flying ask themselves and gives some tips on how to stop doing it.
One particular skill we have noticed that people with a fear of flying are able to do is to imagine their death in intricate detail.
People on our fear of flying courses ask us things like the following:
When we crash, how quickly do we die?OrWhen we crash, do our clothes come off?I am not poking fun at people with fear of flying phobias.
It might be worth examining these questions just for one moment. One of the key statements we tend to emphasize is that, you get more of what you pay attention to.
First of all, the question starts 'WHEN we crash...'
Using this language is like telling your brain it is a forgone conclusion. Changing it to IF is slightly hearlthier albeit it is still very very unlikely.
Then, 'How QUICKLY do we DIE?'This is now telling our brain that not only do we die but it may not be quick - it could be slow.
The answer to this predicament is nothing to do with the answer. It is to do with the question.
I am not picking fault with you good people.
We are training our brains to become very good at visualising death. People without a fear of flying would never allow themselves the luxury of even asking that question. Why would you?If it is okay to ask that sort of question of ourselves and to tie ourselves up in knots, then we must bring it into other parts of our lives.
For instance. How quickly will I die when I am hit by a bus on the way to work?How quickly will I die when I crash driving my car today?Most people don't ask these questions and as you read this you may be saying, 'Of course we don't - that is ridiculous.
'So why does flying get such special attention. The worst thing that happens to people who fly a lot is boredom.
I believe that flying gets a bad rap because it is new. As our Captains say on our courses, humans have only been flying for about 40 years really. Humans are not really designed for flying like birds are. It feels uncomfortable to us as we are not used to weird 3D movement. Our stomachs can lurch. Our ears can feel all blocked up.
Humans feel odd in aircraft. There you go I have said it. It is probably not natural to us with our old fashioned balance organs in our ears. Just because it is uncomfortable it does not mean it is dangerous. Far from it.
Commercial Airlines are so regulated and safe it is staggering.
Everyone that travels in an aircraft, including the pilots, feels the weird sensations of flight.
The difference between the fearful and the fearless is the interpretation we make of the weird feelings.
The fearful and phobic feel every move of the aircraft and accentuate them. The fearless feel every move of the aircraft and ignore them.
It all comes back to the saying, 'You get what you pay attention to.
'If we dare to allow ourselves imagine dying and our clothes flying off, we can scare the life out of ourselves. If we practice really hard, we could get really good at it.
It does take practice but if you persevere, you can get yourself to a level of fear whereby just mentioning Aircraft can make us come out in a cold sweat. Quite a gift really. Well it would be if we used this particular talent like athletes do.
Picture the scene. 10 atheletes line up ready to run the 100 metres. As they look at each other before the event, they visualise the other guy winning. They look at how big his muscles are realise that they probably aren't going to do it today. Today is not THEIR day.
They would never entertain such thoughts. They are no different to us. They know that this sophisticated piece of equipment called the brain is so sensitive to every passing thought that they control it.
They might say STOP to themselves if they think of anything negative. They then replace it with images of winning of getting there first safely.
If you don't believe me, practice the following guaranteed technique when you are going for your next interview.
Before you go in, say out loud or even just in your head the following mantras:
I don't deserve this job. The other person is much better suited to it than me. I look really tired and worn out today. It probably won't go right today.
Well I think you get the point.
We, at the flying without fear course, are not in the happy clappy skip off into the sunset positive thinking school of thought. We are much more pragmatic than that. You really cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought because you just get more of what you pay attention to.
Hope that none of this has offended and only helped as that is always our intention. We know that the people that come on our courses are intelligent normal human beings that are just not able to live their lives fully due to this fear.
Take carePaul Tizzard
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul Tizzard is Co-Director of Virgin's Flying without Fear programme.http://www.flyingwithoutfear.info