Last week, I flew to Scotland to visit my parents. It’s the first flight I’ve gone on by myself for around 20 years without even my kids for company. It’s also the first flight I’ve ever been on where I have really watched the people around me. And I have to admit, I quite enjoyed it.
Gatwick airport is a great place to people watch. It’s such a happy place. If you sit quietly and watch people around you, you can see the excitement in people who are waiting for relatives or friends to come through the arrivals area. Then see the love when those people arrive; see the non-stop chatter and the laughter. There’s a lot of laughter in the arrivals area. And in departures, there are a lot of smiles, happy couples heading for a holiday and families having some time together.
But I also saw the the figeters. The people who can’t sit still. Who check the flight information boards every few minutes even though they know it won’t change for another 30 minutes or so. The people who are dreading the flight and with every passing minute, the fear and anxiety builds. I can spot them a mile off. They think they are hiding it well and trying to keep busy to cover it up. But I see them.
White knuckles anyone?
When I got on my flight and sat patiently waiting for take off, I started watching the woman opposite me. I spotted that she had started snapping at her kids (who weren’t actually doing anything wrong). She was wriggling around, moving her coat from under her to under the chair, then pulling out her bag and putting it back again. I could see the anxiety hanging around her like a dark cloud. So it was no surprise to me that on take off, she was gripping the arm rests hard until her knuckles were white and she was almost rigid with fear. The fact that it was windy (storm Doris was on it’s way) and very bumpy really didn’t help. And then once we were in the air, we only had about 10 minutes or so before the seatbelt sign came back on because we were in an area of turbulence. “Doris” was doing her thing.
So I struck up a conversation with her. She politely chatted back to me through gritted teeth at first, but then as I talked to her, and explained what I do, she began to relax a little. I talked her through some simple breathing exercises and some positive visualisation and that anxiety began to disappear. As we landed, I kept talking to her, reassuring her and showing her how different it could be to fly without the anxiety. She was genuinely shocked that she could turn it round so quickly to feel so much more in control once she knew how to and so grateful that I showed her how.
She learned to focus on her breathing and focus on a safe landing where she was smiling and happy. And it works.
If you want to fly with confidence and remove anxiety from your life, I can help.
Come and see what you can achieve.