1 in 4 people suffer from fear of flying. Fear of flying keeps many people away from the places they would like to visit. Flying phobia is, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013), a specific situational phobia and is characterized by intense fear or anxiety and distress during or in anticipation of an airplane flight (when planning a trip, when booking tickets, when packing for the trip, on the way to the airport), anxiety that can lead to the manifestation of a panic attack.
At behavioral level, the most common reaction is avoidance (people do not fly at all, fly only when absolutely necessary, or fly when necessary, but exhibit anxiety-specific behaviors). A more subtle form of avoidance is safety behaviors that, in the short term, reduce anxiety (choosing certain seats on the plane to be able to escape as quickly as possible in case of need or to avoid being seen by others, asking for repeated reassurances about the weather, technical problems and the qualifications of the pilot, drinking alcohol or taking drugs with sedative properties to anesthetize their intense feelings, etc.). In fact, these strategies only reinforce anxiety on the long run. Cognitive reactions include thoughts related to the possibility of falling from the sky, lack of control, the possibility of being put in embarrassing social situations, fear of heights, the impossibility of escaping, the fear of death, or repetitive thoughts about media information about falls, etc. At physiological level, fear is experienced through reactions such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, hyperventilation, gastric problems, palpitations, dizziness, etc.
The good news is that flight fear can be healed.
Visualization and meditation
Visualization and meditation can help in two ways. One way is through imaginary exposure and the other is by reducing anxiety.
Imaginary exposure requires the person with flight phobia to imagine with the most details possible a situation of flying by plane and to remain in the imagined scenario until the anxiety decreases to at least half the intensity it had at the beginning of the exposure. A great way of making this imaginary exposure is through guided meditation.
Reducing anxiety related to fear of flying does not mean one gets rid of the fear of flight but means coping with all the emotions and reactions generated by this fear, making flying a better and more manageable experience. In this case, one can listen to the meditation while at the airport, as well as on the days leading up to the travel or even during the travel itself. It is most effective with repetitive listening.
Grounding, Root chakra balancing
A fear of flying is quite common. It comes with the fear of not being in total control. The challenge of surrendering.
While flying, we are aware that we are no longer with feet on the ground. The need to feel supported by and connected to the earth is an innate human characteristic and is one that is directly connected to flying! We are way above the ground, with our head in the sky and clouds, which is not our natural state of being. Therefore, it is very important that before and after one flies the person suffering from fear of flight activates and balances the first chakra – walking in nature is the best and easiest, earthing or grounding. Visualizing a cord that is always connecting the Root chakra to the earth’s center or roots growing from the feet and circling the Earth’s core can help also with grounding.
Solar Plexus chakra balancing
The fear of flying is usually like an iceberg, it has behind it a bunch of fears, like fear of death, fear of being in situations that are out of our control, the fear of the unknown plus other specific fears. For example, there are people who in childhood went through certain situations like getting stuck in the elevator. Lack of control seems to be one of the reasons behind aviophobia.
An unbalanced Solar Plexus chakra is the harshest imbalance one can have related to anxiety. An imbalanced Solar Plexus leads to self-doubt, paralysis from fear, no sense of direction, a sense of losing control. The Solar Plexus chakra is also the center of courage, daring, strong drive, perseverance and desire to win, ambition, strength, and fairness. Negative lower emotions include anger, irritation, worry, anxiety, fear, aggressiveness, abrasiveness, addiction, etc.
Therefore, it is very important that before and after one flies the person suffering from fear of flight activates and balances the third chakra – using an essential oil directly applied to the Solar Plexus chakra and on pulse areas of the body can reduce the imbalance and promote joy and energy.
Because Reiki is an intelligent energy, works on the underlying causes of the fear of flight even if one cannot point directly on the origin of the fear. It is best to have a Reiki session or do self-treatment a few days before flying, but also during the flight, by placing the hands on the different areas of the body where anxiety is felt, with the intention of having a great, smooth trip. One can also access Distance Reiki before flying home if necessary!
Article by Patricia Lidia
Free eBook download: We’ve created an eBook with our best articles on this topic, and offer it for free to all our newsletter subscribers.
Patricia Lidia is a corporate engineer, writer, blogger, and coach on creativity and emotional balance. She is passionate about reading and writing, alternative therapies, and spirituality. She is a Reiki master teacher with over ten years of experience. Her aim is to help women find their emotional balance and create the life they’ve always wanted.
She resides in Timisoara, Romania. You can find her at patricialidia.ro/ or patricialidiaemotionalhealing