How to overcome a fear of flying with 'junk' psychology
Yesterday Captain Tom Bunn left a comment on my ‘Easy Turbulence’ video on YouTube referring to My Sunny Mind’s methods as “junk psychology”. Quite naturally I’ve taken issue with this claim because not only have I had a great deal of success both personally and with the many clients I’ve seen over the last 10 years, but of course there’s the millions of people around the world who’ve been positively affected by modern alternative-therapies. And let’s not forget either the virtues of such classic practices as mindfulness meditation which were first introduced into the West during the 18th century yet date back to early Buddhist texts and traditions.
Now unfortunately, Tom’s YouTube/Google+ account is set up so that no one is able to respond to his comments, so sadly I’ve had to remove his comment from that particular YouTube thread. I love different points of view, open debate and healthy argument - but of course this means people have to be able to respond to each other. And so for those who missed it, here’s Tom’s comment in full. And my reply.
“Tom Bunn wrote on 06/25/15: The breathing and relaxation exercises promoted in this video are - according to all the current research - completely useless. Some research finds they are counterproductive. In any case they do not control anxiety, panic, or claustrophobia either on the ground or when flying. Links to the research are at bit.ly/1q2ocSq on Psychology Today. To avoid being set up for failure by junk psychology read this blog bit.ly/1BgMuJG on Psychology Today.”
In response I would firstly like to say that current research has actually shown us that both breathing and relaxation exercises can in fact be most useful for a great number of people in lowering stress levels. The UK Government, Harvard Health Publications and the US Dept. of Health & Human Services all promote the benefits of breathing & relaxation exercises in lowering anxiety.
In both his excellent articles for Psychology Today, Tom Bunn provides well founded scientific research to prove his point - which in turn supports the point made by eminent academic and NY Times best-selling author Daniel H Pink in his book: “To Sell Is Human”… Pink tells us how it’s now possible for someone to find evidence to prove conclusively whatever they want. In Tom’s case this is evidence to support his SOAR program which has successfully helped over 5,000 nervous flyers since 1982.
My Sunny Mind’s ‘Easy Turbulence’ (and indeed our whole ‘Relaxed Flying Series’) uses an array of breathing & relaxation exercises AND other powerful tools such as SFBT, Mindfulness, NLP & simple rational thinking. Unlike traditional hypnosis (which for example has one imagine a beach or a lake scene) the ‘Relaxed Flying Series’ visualizations are context-related and actually use what is happening on the aircraft at any given moment to leave the listener in a more confident state of mind. (We’re great fans here at My Sunny Mind of the peaceful moments that mindfulness brings, AND the legendary Milton Erickson’s utilization techniques). What we do know is that everybody’s flying experience is NOT the same - if it were then EVERY passenger would go into fits of panic every time an aircraft travels through turbulence. However, this is quite clearly not the case. It is not turbulence that causes us fear, but our personal thought patterns around turbulence which are converted into anxiety.
My Sunny Mind’s goal is to put nervous passengers into the same resourceful space as more confident flyers. Breathing & relaxation exercises help in achieving this, and as mentioned above such techniques are only part of a bigger process we use in helping passengers deal with negative thoughts and emotions. We also acknowledge that perhaps our MP3 downloads won’t work for everyone, but 2 years of inflight testing and 10 years of clinical testing has shown us the profound effects that our work has had upon both passengers in the sky and many regular people on the ground. We at My Sunny Mind are very excited by the positive results and feedback we have gained so far and we whole-heartedly stand by the efficacy of all our products.
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