THE BLOG
02/27/2014 09:33 am ET Updated Apr 29, 2014

Curing Your Fear of Flying

2014-02-26-MoroccophotoSpiritQuestTours.jpg

Over the years, I've traveled with hundreds of our guests all over the world, and seen dozens of people petrified at the thought of getting on a plane. There's something about the combination of loss of control and fear of plane crashes that is almost paralyzing, and almost everyone is affected by it to some degree. So what can you do, other than stay home, or at least use only much slower modes of transport to get to your chosen destination?

First let's talk statistics. Don't worry -- you probably can't be logic-ed into something so I won't attempt to dissuade you with facts. However, you may be interested to note that according to the National Transportation Safety Board, approximately 1.25-1.5 people die per every million miles driven, but there are so few air accidents it works out to be just over 0 people killed for every million miles flown. Put another way, your odds of being killed in a car accident are 1 in 98 for your lifetime, but just 1 in 7,178 in a plane crash. (all stats from USA Today). My favorite way of looking at it is 1 percent chance of death by car, just a ten-thousandth of 1 percent on a flight. Not bloody likely.

Yet that will not keep most of us from quaking in our boots the next time we fly. Are there practical solutions or methods that help? Can you use hypnosis or deep breathing or drugs? Answer: yes, all of the above. Depending on who you are, they all work to some degree. But the method I have found to be most effective is the one I have employed with complete strangers clutching the seat next to me as readily as myself: Thought Field Therapy, or Tapping.

As it was explained to me when I learned this method, tapping on your face in specific spots interrupts the electrical currents that run through your body's meridians. That's pretty woo-woo, but it doesn't matter. The good news about tapping is that it works whether you believe in it or not, whether you have it explained to you first, whether you are even comfortable with the concept.
2014-02-26-WailuaFallsKauaiSpiritQuestTours.jpg
Here's the craziest experience I ever had with tapping: On a plane coming back from Bali, there was a young Swedish girl next to me who spoke almost no English. We had smiled and passed drinks across her seat to get them to her new husband. As we were descending, I noticed she was suddenly white-knuckled and tensed. Glancing over, I could see all the color had drained from her face. I asked for permission to touch her, but she just shook her head, my too-rapid English confusing her. I made a split-second decision and began tapping my fingers on her face -- over her brow, below her eye socket -- six spots in all. She jerked the first time I touched her, and I didn't blame her, but then allowed me to continue. After completing the algorithm (which took less than 30 seconds) I could see her hands unclenching. I asked permission again, making eye contact and indicating I was going to repeat the process. This time she nodded and closed her eyes, and I tapped out the algorithm on her face. She began to slow her breathing and opened her eyes, smiling and then laughing as she realized she was no longer afraid.

There are a lot of resources out there for tapping; my favorite is the founder of Thought Field Therapy, Roger Callahan's, site, and his famous book, Tapping the Healer Within. This book has changed more than one of my friends' lives and we have referred many of our tour guests to it. You can find videos on TFT and its cousin, Emotional Freedom Therapy, all over YouTube, but I prefer the original source.

The freedom of traveling without fear means you can now look forward to your vacation or business trip. Perhaps it will mean you choose to travel more often. Happy flying!!

Photos © Spirit Quest Tours