Q&A with Lawrence Layton - Presenter for Easyjet's Fearless Flyer Course

One in six people is believed to be a nervous flyer. Lawrence Leyton, a leading motivational speaker and expert in phobias talk about conquering these fears in this Q&A.

How did the easyJet course come about?
I had a brainstorm when I cured one of the participants on my Channel 4 Fear of Flying programme, and this got me thinking. It all started in 2012.

How does the easyJet course differ to the other courses out there?
It differs as it is deliberately set over two days and I think that people find it very empowering to do the actual flight after the course. 

Why do you think your personal approach works, and who are the five per cent that it does not work for?
The tools that I have given you are a set of life tools. It’s all about understanding how to rule your brain, instead of letting your brain rule you. Your mind is a very powerful thing and depending on what you choose to focus it on, will result in it either helping you or hindering you. The few people the course does not work for often need a one to one course and total attention for their fear – I do those too.

What has been your toughest challenge – the biggest phobic that you have knowingly converted?
There was a guy on the course who was in the Kegworth air disaster (in 1989) and had not flown since, which really shocked the audience. His fear was real, but he immersed himself in the course and put a different perspective on it. I am so happy it worked for him.

Top five motivational tips?

1 – Focus correctly - Focus only on what you want rather than what you don’t want. The mind can’t process negatives, so if you focus on the wrong things then you end up with them.

2 – Control your breathing – People don’t realize that when you are anxious you start shallow breathing from the upper part of your abdomen. Short, shallow breaths will automatically make you more anxious. Take some nice deep breaths in the lower part of your abdomen. 

3 – Go to the Movies - The movies that you play in your head totally control how you feel. Most people will play the worse case scenario over and over again in their head, for example a plane crashing in mid-air. So play a different movie inside your head. It will change the way you feel and the way you behave.

4 – Change your internal dialogue - So many times our Negative Internal Dialogue, or what I call a NIM, can literally make us talk ourselves into very negative states of mind. We have the ability to change it. The first step is to become aware of it, and then try to change it for something more productive and calming.

5 – Don’t fill in the gaps - You have to learn how to spot the limiting illusions you carry around with you. Our mind tends to fill in the gaps because it is not in control of the facts, so every time you hear an unusual noise on the plane or feel a funny movement or sensation, your brain tends to fill in the gaps. If you have a great imagination, as most phobics do, then you tend to fill in the gaps with negative meanings.

Our easyJet Fearless Flyer courses will show you how to run your brain more efficiently. By the end of the course you will feel totally different and you will wonder what all the fuss was about!

The EasyJet Fearless Flyers course boasts a 95 per cent success rate and is available at eight UK airports. For details, visit www.fearlessflyer.easyjet.com

Going on holiday? Don’t forget to pack your Benenden Travel Insurance with you. 

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