hi keith and everyone on the forum,

well here I go again! I'm flying on Sunday to Florence for a short break and thought I'd post about my progress in preparing for this flight. I flew 6 times last year (with the help of Keith's seminar and brilliant CD's) after walking away from Heathrow in January 2008, but after flying home from Iceland last December I vowed never to get on a plane again! I had a difficult flight home that trip, mainly because it was dark and the plane was covered in snow and ice before take-off and I worked myself up into a frenzy!

I've had my moments after booking this flight - every time I've heard about a plane crash I've been straight on raileurope.com looking at the trains, but at £800 return for me and my boyfriend I've been quickly put off that option!

The last couple of weeks I've been up and down. I've worked out that I have a general fear about safety and things that could go wrong. I'm ok(ish) with the flying sensations - I do feel strange but I put that down to it being something I don't do very often and am therefore not used to it. I'm not comfortable with the speed and the noise, but again I just try and go with it (whilst secretly being a little bit excited by it all at the same time!). What I struggle to cope with is the tiniest one-in-a-hundred-million possible chance that something might happen to my flight. I am really looking for someone to tell me that I will be 100% guaranteed safe on my flight, but I know that isn't possible because accidents happen. I am not 100% safe from the moment I get up in the morning, but somehow I seem to be able to rationalise all the more dangerous things I do every day. If I can apply this to flying then I think I'll have cracked it - sounds simple enough!

I do find statistics helpful and try to remember the difference between possibility and probability, but still find myself worrying about possibility! I also found this on you tube which has helped to normalise everything a little: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEZcBeE33wc

Today I've been planning our trip, booking museums and researching places to go which has really helped to take my mind off the flight and is, after all, the reason I am going. Will be reading all the inspirational stories and successes from all the brave members of this forum over the next few days, and hope to add another success story of my own when I get back... just need to work through the pre-flight nerves which I know from experience is the worst part.

Good luck to everyone flying in the near future, remember we CAN do it! helen x

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Hi all,

...and you know I'll always give you whatever support and encouragement I can.

These feelings are normal, and never forget where you started from and how far along the journey you've come

Hi Helen, it's Sue - your fellow Iceland traveller. So sorry to hear about your bad experience. I echo everyone else on the forum in saying, please don't punish yourself for this. In fact, the reason that I'm back on the forum after a bit of time away is because I've just backed out of a flight myself. Unlike you, I didn't even make it to the airport - my flight is (was!) in early September, to Glasgow, and it would have been my first solo flight. Then last week, I just woke up in the middle of the night and was hit by the realisation that I couldn't do it. So, at 2am in the morning, I got online, cancelled my flights and booked the train. A very expensive night! Now, I'm regretting it, and like you, can't understand why I didn't just get on with it like I've done so many times before.

I suppose we've all had a few nasty set-backs along the way, and I agree, they can make you feel worse than the flight itself. But don't give up! Once the memory of these bad experiences start to fade, I'm sure you'll feel ready to fly again. As ever, we're all here to help when you book your next flight, whenever that may be! As for me, it's likely that we'll be having a week's holiday in Tromso, Norway, in January (still chasing those Northern Lights), so I'll be leaning on everyone myself very soon! All best wishes to you Helen, hope you're feeling better now.

Sue XX
Hello all,

I've just been sent this from another site I used to use - it might make some sense. Its a bit of a long read so apologies in advance. x

The Art of Flopping

This is a simple idea and takes a little bit of practice.

The art of flopping is something that we firmly believe
in as a way to help with any fear - whether it is flying
or going to the dentist.

In both of these situations actually, you have very little
control over what happens to you don't you.

This is where the art of flopping comes in. Try this
as a practice somewhere other than an aircraft to begin
with and see how you get on.

When you are next in a situation where you start to feel
nervous as adrenaline kicks in and you get all that stuff
with it such as: Butterflies in the stomach, dry mouth,
sweaty palms, over breathing, tunnel vision, heart beat
pounding - try the art of flopping.

Two thoughts occurred to me as I wrote the last paragraph.

1. How attractive an image you would look in the midst of
that to your unsuspecting dentist!
2. Are the feelings described not those of being excited
about doing something too such as meeting a new date, about
to do an exciting fairground ride? Just a thought.

The art of flopping continued...

Make yourself heavy. Push back into the chair so that as
much of your back and bottom are touching the chair that
you are sitting in.

Next, take three deep breaths. As you breathe in,count to
3. Then hold for 1 and then breathe out for 5.

Repeat but each time that you breathe out,try and let it
go out for longer. So, maybe breathe out for 10 or more
eventually. Now, surely this is a much more
attractive image?!

Next, change your thoughts. Say to yourself, 'I am
okay, I am safe.' Surely better than, 'Oh my God, I
am having a near death experience!'

Sound a bit weird?

Have you noticed that when someone says this is going
to hurt a little, perhaps the Doctor gives you an
injection. Typically, people tense up ready to bear
the awful pain!

If you do the opposite and flop, it hurts less. OR,
you fight with the needle, it's your choice!

That is the art of flopping. The more you practice it
the easier it becomes.

My kids like those awful fairground rides where
get to fly along at a hundred miles an hour whilst
inverted and looking at the ground. And you pay for the
pleasure too. I have to grin and pretend that I am
of course up for it as a 'with it' sort of Dad.

I am not up for it at all. I know about the art
of flopping and I do that. Try it. You won't
necessarily doing cartwheels every time you go
on one of these damn rides but you can be in control.
This is an interesting and useful method of relaxation. I would treat other information, certainly about technical matters, from that source (Newsletter) with caution. I am flattered that you're with us and 'used to use' the other site. Legal constraints prevent further comment on my part.

Hi Sue, it's really nice to hear from you - I am feeling much better now thanks and have stopped beating myself up, it was just one of those things and I will be better prepared next time (want to say "if there is a next time" but of course there will be!). I am sorry to hear that you've had a similar experience but the same goes for you, try not to overanalyse it and remember all your successes - maybe flying alone was just one step too far for you this time, but it won't always be like that. I hope you feel confident enough to start planning your trip to Tromso soon, that will be such an amazing holiday and the chance of the northern lights is too good to miss, well worth flying for! I will look out for your posts if you need any support nearer the time, and thanks again for your message... take care, helen x
Hi Jo, this sounds like good advice, a bit like deep relaxation but with a much better name! One of the hardest things to do when you are anxious is tell yourself to relax, but maybe telling yourself to flop will make more sense at a time of high stress levels... definitely worth a try! Hope everything's going well with your holiday preparations, let me know if you need anything... hx

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