How to overcome fear of flying?

Fear of flying by a large proportion of the population   can disrupt both the family leisure as professional life.

Not talking about the normal anxiety before the trip, but on one that prevents people from going. Anyway, you can reverse the situation.

Psychologist Julio Peres gives tips on how to overcome fear of flying. "We are not hostages to our emotional brain and we can change this state of fear, as evidenced in our neuroimaging studies (Psychological Medicine, 2007, Journal of Psychiatric Research, 2010) that demonstrated the effects of neurobiological resilience during psychotherapy."

Internal dialogue (the way we process the events) can generate the neurochemistry of the health or suffering. The psyche is very agile, but need guidance to work in our favor.

1. What differentiates the fear of flying a phobia?
Fear of flying usually does not prevent the individual from making his trips, despite the discomfort. However, fear can sometimes develop into a phobia, which is considered an anxiety disorder, whose cause is multifactorial.
Genetic, neurochemical, sociocultural, personality type and life events such as psychological trauma are involved in the onset of phobias.

2. As this phobia can affect who owns and disturb the routine?
People with the phobia wear with suffering greatly during his travels routinely aborting sometimes professional prosperity. Many people seek the treatment of phobia of flying when they realize they are hurting themselves with the abuse of alcohol or tranquilizers, or the family, private travel.

3. Why despite figures and research show that the plane is one of the safest cars, people still have much fear of flying?

Phobias usually develop by subjective emotional processing that are not necessarily rational. We all have the ability to generalize, and without it would not survive.

We've met many challenges in childhood, adolescence and adulthood, like sleeping in a room separate from parents, making tough tests in school, learning to ride a bike or drive to confront an unknown situation, etc.. The faculty of generalization enables the construction of associative learning during the development (for example, if I could climb one rung of the ladder, I will get up the second, and overcome other challenges like).

The same generalization operates in phobias arising from events in which the individual has experienced significant fear, as a system that aims to preserve survival. In this sense the emotions overlap reason and limbic areas that are most active areas involved in the process of rationalization.

As already stated, we are not hostage to our emotional brain and we can change this state of fear. Studies have shown the effects of neurobiological resilience during psychotherapy. The psyche is very agile, but need guidance to work in our favor.

4. What influence the great tragedies with airplanes have on people's fears?
The influence of the news about the great tragedies with aircraft may be significant because the perception of information we are getting immensely projective, ie the functioning of the brain allows us to see or understand what we know and believe is possible, and so we tend to identify with what we perceive.

In other words, our perception of the world seeks a reflection in the mirror of our memories. We've been conditioned to believe that the external world is more real than the internal. Contemporary studies suggest other perspectives. What happens is that within us will create what "happens outside" in our relations with the world. People with previous experience of fear related to death, and many of us have them, can condense the information to their own repertoire of tragedies and exacerbate the fear of dying.

Mirror neurons were discovered recently by Neuroscience, participate actively in this process when we experience empathy, we recognize the references to other individuals and to merge our experiences, favoring the generation of behaviors similar to those observed. However, the great tragedies do not affect everyone and the gap is to identify or not with the observed event.

5. Is there any relation between memory and fear?
The memory has the curious phenomenon of state-dependency, that is, we remind ourselves of experience with the presentation of "tips" line with those learnings. So often during a meal in a restaurant, other restaurants and meals are remembered. When you feel a particular perfume, like a cake that her grandmother did in childhood, the memories of that period have surfaced.

The same is true, but more intensely, with traumatized individuals, places, circumstances, feelings etc.. Associated with the trauma can trigger the memory of the event and alert mechanisms as if the traumatic event were happening or about to happen.

Often, these tips become distant from what actually occurred and, even then, with subjective and generalization and unconscious memories of trauma are triggered.

An example
During psychotherapy observed that a patient had suffered a traumatic fall from the wall of his home at age 12 with fractures and painful two months of hospitalization. A similar feeling of "butterflies" was tested at age 17 during a flight and danger of unwittingly association was established with air travel.

Ask the patient to build a new association with what he called butterflies, nice now, through increasingly high heels and a fun trampoline training.

Then the patient joked with his wife and son in roller coasters and little by little, the "butterflies" was associated with the well-being and fun. In addition to overcoming your fear of flying, now aged 42 he has fun in times of turbulence on flights with "goose bumps". Often, phobic people who do not locate the memory of the triggering event.

The identification of such associative processes during psychotherapy is not always immediate, especially when memories are involved complex covering other memories and therefore other associative networks.

6. You can learn to be brave and to overcome fear of flying?
The dialogue between fear and courage is present in many artistic expressions like paintings, sculptures and literary pieces, which depict assertively coexistence between these two apparent polarities. Despite the belief that one excludes the other condition prevail over common sense, courage involves many aspects and is not a closed package, as well as fear.

In practice, if you are afraid, that does not mean you do not have the courage, or vice versa. Courage has its root in the meaning "act of the heart." I consider that to be courageous includes accountability and integrity in line for the development and personal prosperity, involves being aware of threats and solve problems using insight and capabilities to meet the personal needs and also the surroundings. Courage without fear can be disastrous and unsuccessful.
Therefore, the learning and cultivation of courage can occur from the gradual control of the variables fearful of real knowledge of personal motives and reasons to face adversity. The knowledge, prudence, patience and the courage to confront successful acts are important predictors of heart, or courage.

7. When you need to seek treatment?
Must resort to psychotherapy when the suffering is significant enough to limit daily life, or cause other problems in the family and / or professional.

8. How psychotherapy can help?
The fear of flying may have different origins. We need to investigate the root of fear, so that the therapeutic process is effective.

Psychotherapy seeks to dissect and to work the established associations between traumatic events and their belief systems that generate the phobic behaviors. The therapeutic effects can be largely as a result of "learning of extinction," establishing new, healthy responses to the stimulus that caused by fear.

Psychotherapy can promote learning and new associations that reflect, often to extinction. Therapies based on exposure (imaginal and in vivo) are aligned to the same principles. Fernando Sabino poetically teaches us what is the learning of extinction: Let's break a new path ... In the fall, a dance step ... the fear, the dream ... a ladder, a bridge ... The demand for a meeting.

9. Got any tips for those who are afraid of, but need to fly?
The autoinduction of relaxation with a focus on quiet breathing supported by thoughts of resilience (eg, I feel safe and secure. All is well now, and so on) also helps. The explanation is simple: when hyperventilates (panting, anxious) provoked changes in oxygen in the bloodstream, promoting progressive mental confusion, and as a result, enhancement of fear.

On the other hand, when we keep quiet breathing feel more secure, confident and in control preserved. I also emphasize that we build on what we have and not what we lack, and therefore the therapeutic process involves the recovery of memories of resilience and self-efficacy.
A good tip is to rescue the repertoire of victories (victories in field goals of family, work, school, sports, etc.). In other periods of life. Such memories can mobilize new associations to strengthen self-image courageous and victorious.

Example of a strengthening
As a patient overcome the fear of darkness in childhood and the same strategy helped him overcome the fear of flying.

Step 1: "I faced the dark walkthrough, lighting and extinguishing the light in my room. I convinced myself that my room was still in order when they turned off the light, until I got to sleep in the dark feeling that everything was fine. "

Step 2: Apply in other situations. The patient did the same to overcome fear of flying. He faced the airport, short flights without tranquilizers and was gradually getting exposed to longer flights until he was convinced that everything was fine.

We call this process of desensitization (remove the sensitivity). This method favors the gradual decrease in hypersensitivity to an existing condition phobic through smooth, continuous exposure, which allows the patient to strengthen the perception of control and victory over self.

Finally, the most inspiring words of Julio: "In practice, if you are afraid, that does not mean you do not have the courage, or vice versa."

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