Welcome to eClass 26:
Here we go…
PART 1: Stress and Aviation.
“Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.”
Do you like how I get right to the point!
To simplify further…
DEMAND MAY EXCEED PERFORMANCE
Obviously this is in the situation of maximum stress. Realistically I cannot prevent every potentially stressful situation – what I can do is look inside and work out what makes me stressed so that I can take measures to change the situation or my perception of it.
Whether I like to admit it or not, at some point you are feeling the effects of stress. The human body has the ability to become stressed. In my observations it can natural or learned from a parent. What we as pilots need to be aware of is the practical stuff to achieve the best outcome in the aircraft.
Being able to recognise what makes you stressed (a stressor) and what steps to take when you are stressed is what achieved the safest and best outcome for any pilot.
Here’s a couple of statements about stress…
- As stress level goes up, performance goes down in inverse proportion.
- This will work against you in direct proportion to the amount of stress affecting you.
- Maximum stress leaves no brain capacity left to make rational decisions.
- You then rely totally on your automatic reflexes put there by previous training (checklists etc)
- Conversely the more you enjoy your flight training, the more efficiently you will learn.
- A dedicated experienced instructor will immediately recognise the effects of stress as you fly, and teach you how to overcome it.
Being able to master your stress to a manageable level will go a massive way to achieving the best outcome possible.
Below is table of the ‘techie’ stuff of what happens when the body experiences stress…
If you are still awake then let’s turn it into pilot speak as I too am easily bored with the theory!
What is important to note is a couple of the points in blue which we will look at further in the next part and the final result if you leave your stress level unmanageable…
That is, DISEASE STATUS potential.
Whatever reason you decided to embark on an aviation career, you should be planning for a long and illustrious one. I know I am.
Not only does this mean performance in individual scenarios but also the aftermath. It is our advice that any event your encounter that YOU felt was stressful should never be bottled up and hidden away.
That stuff can make you sick. Check out what Captain Sullenberger discusses about after he landed an Airbus A320 in the Hudson River in NYC. With thanks to Fora TV.
It may buffer a little but worth the wait! Click on the link below…
Talk to a trusted person. Other pilots, family or mentors. You won’t ever be judged about any issues when you use my Pilot Advice Service. Don’t forget I started out somewhere and had the same challenges that you will have.
I can help you myself or know where to send you. I can even give online hugs!
PART 2: Recognising your own stress and limitations.
In the table above we looked at what is going on in a human body when it is stressed. As pilots we need to look for the practical side of everything because that is something that we can use.
Here are the 6 most common physical signs of stress…
Increased Heart Rate
Increased Respiration Rate
Sweating or sweaty palms
Reduced problem solving ability
My challenge is to be able to recognise any or all of these symptoms early within myself so then Ican change my behaviour.
The change of behaviour can be physical or emotional depending upon works for you. We must remember that each human being reacts differently and therefore the fix to the symptoms will be individual.
I have put together my own experience and our observations of others below. Try and pick what would work for you. The list may also give you other alternatives to try or have in your tool kit.
It’s amazing if you file things away you will eventually find the right situation to draw on them.
Spend some time now thinking about some situations that you have already had that caused a level of stress. Not necessarily news making events, just where you found yourself experiencing some of the symptoms above.
By taking a look at yourself and what makes you tick, you are creating an early awareness system for spotting stress in yourself.
This should be continually remodelled as your experience grows.
If you find that you don’t necessarily ‘like’ what you see – DONT PANIC!
Life should be a series of learning’s and it’s never too late to adapt to a better behaviour.
i.e. I recognise my own stress now far better than I did when I started.
Everyone needs to start somewhere and you will find that the mere fact that you are taking action by reading and learning from my experience makes you far better off than I were at the same stage!!
PART 3: Stepping Up When it Counts.
So we’ve taken a bold look at myself and how I react when I am stressed.
Knowing the signals to look for will get you set for the next steps to take.
Actions to take when you are feeling stressed…
Change your perception
If you have something that is making you feel stressed it could be perceived rather than actual. Sometimes thinking ‘too hard’ about it can make it feel worse than it actually is. If possible, sit back and check that you have the facts not just potential threat. If you are too close to something it is possible to not see it for what it is. If required, change your perception. Get clarity and move on.
Change the situation
If there is an event worthy of increased stress level then once you have recognised it – fix it!
Apply the checklist, solve the problem etc.
Remember that your body’s natural instinct is to sense when things aren’t right. So if you have a real threat rather than perceived then don’t forget to trust your gut.
Look at the big picture
It is possible that your stress level increase is unwarranted. That is, maybe you are making a mountain out of a molehill. We are all guilty of this in some part of our lives at some stage. Looking at the big picture and breaking down the situation to the fundamental issue may get it in perspective.
Eg. The weather is forecast to deteriorate but it hasn’t yet. Be prepared but don’t peak too soon – you will need to save your energy.
Use your body’s natural reactions as an early warning system. Be able to recognise your own symptoms of stress then use the tools to determine if it serves you. Use your increased adrenalin to act, or use your body’s stress reaction to diffuse the situation and maintain your clear thinking ability.
PART 4: Questions for You.
- What are your symptoms of stress?
- Think of a situation recently that you could apply your knowledge of self stress to achieve a better outcome.
- Why is it better to talk about your stressful situations with a trusted person?
- Write down all the things that concern you about stress and aviation and please raise them at the Webinar.
Next week’s preview…’Job search booster…’
Find out how doing anything that you can even before you start will be of immense value to your career.
Congratulations on completing this Eclass. Check out below the Eclass calender to see what’s in store!
If you need to use our Pilot Advice Service or have any questions or comments please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t miss out on a opportunity by procrastinating.
Look forward to speaking with you at the Webinar.
You will be sent the Webinar Invitation Link and Instructions closer to the time.
To Your Flying Success!
Airline Pilot and Professional Pilot Mentor