July is always the busiest month of the year for air travel as our kids break up from school and we set off on our summer holidays.

It is also around this time my workload as a rapid-change therapist reminds me that 25 per cent – yes, one in four of us – feel some anxiety around flying.

I’ve worked with hundreds of local people, helping them overcome fears, phobias and anxieties about flying. I’m also glad to have helped others with problems like stuttering, nail-biting, thumb-sucking, neck-twitching, bed-wetting and other issues.

Christine asked me about a problem with her holiday in Spain:

“I love travelling but get terribly anxious before going away. Can you reduce my anxiety?” – Christine

What specifically is causing the anxiety? Is it thinking: ‘What if something happens to the house?’, or ‘Could something go wrong when I’m abroad?’. First figure out what thought is making you anxious. Then challenge this by asking yourself, ‘Is anything problematic actually happening, or am I just imagining stuff?’.

“When I fly, I always anticipate turbulence and if there is any, it terrifies me. Can you help?” – Anita

Consider what turbulence actually is – simply bumpy movements up and down. If you closed your eyes on a train, you’d feel the same thing. So, realise it’s not the turbulence that’s scary, but it’s the story you tell yourself about the turbulence. Stop telling yourself turbulence means you’ll crash and things will get easier.

“I can get on planes, but night flying worries me most. How can I overcome this fear?” – Pete

People scare themselves with internal dialogue, saying ‘If it’s dark, the pilot can’t see.’ They mentally hear this in a panicked tone. However, it’s the tone that creates fear, not the words. Slowing this down or changing the tone to ‘silly’ or ‘sexy’ can remove anxiety. Practise using a silly or sexy internal voice. Harder to feel anxious, right?

“How can I stop negative thoughts so that I can be happy?” – Richard

Don’t get rid of these thoughts, just realise thoughts themselves don’t pose you any threat. Many people can think negatively without impacting their happiness because they keep in mind they’re just thoughts. Practising meditation and paying attention to ‘thinking’ helps develop this skill.

Our columnist, Borehamwood-based Howard Cooper is one of Britain’s leading ‘Rapid Change’ experts. Based locally at www.rapidchange.works he helps people create rapid shifts in their thinking.

Have you got any phobias you'd like addressing? Email Howard at his column on askhoward@rapidchange.works