Self-Awareness: Does It Increase Or Decrease Anxiety

Thoughts can cause the release of stress hormones.One way to limit stress is to limit inner awareness where troubling thoughts often reside. But, this strategy can lead to trouble.

Fear Can Make You Believe the Worst Will Happen. How?

Reflective function critiques our take on reality. When stress hormones cause reflective function to fail, it becomes impossible for us to know what is imaginary and what is real.

Is Terrorism Changing Your Life?

Given all the recent terror issues, I feel security cannot truly stop an individual intent on harm. Am I being anxious for no reason? Do you truly feel that our security measures are 100%?

The Essential Power Of Relationship

Perhaps the most important psychological discovery in years, Porges' research explains how the benevolent non-judgmental signals of the caregiver can calm the child. If consistent enough, calming relatedness is internalized, allowing us humans to engage in cooperation, reproduction, and - indeed - civilization.

Don't Let Recent Events Cause Panic at the Airport

The news is disturbing. If we keep it out of awareness, we feel better. But, avoided concerns can catch up with us. If they hit all at once as we board a flight, panic may result. We are better off if we deal with disturbing news as it happens.

Are Discount Airlines Discounting Your Safety?

The door nearest the burning engine was opened and its escape slide deployed. Passengers slid down into smoke and nearby fire. Passenger Daniela Magro said "all the smoke" was a problem. "When we go down the slide, I couldn't see anyone because we went from the left side." Are all flight attendants being properly trained?

Is It Time To Worry When Flight Attendants Are Told To Sit?

If if the turbulence is expected to be light, pilots try to turn the seat belt sign on early. This is because the flight attendants must put away loose items in the galley and stow the serving carts before they are seated.

Fear Flying? Statistics Don't Help.

Forty million isn't personally meaningful. But, the number one hits home. It's personal. What did people on that flight feel? Maybe they got on expecting nothing bad would happen. These thoughts trigger the release of stress hormones and a cascade of feelings.

The BA Engine Fire Is Scary, But Pilots Follow Procedure

Context is vitally important on a day like today after the British Airways plane experienced an engine fire as it began to take off at Las Vegas. Failures like this are extremely rare. But, pilots are ready to deal with these things if they do happen.

A Pilot Fearful During Flight as a Passenger

A pilot writes, "I understand all of the concepts of flying and the safety relating to it. This is not my problem. I’m afraid only when I’m a passenger. It’s the feeling of not being in control. Also, my fear fear is associated with the plane’s movements, and not knowing if a turn is coming or when it is coming."

"Inquisitr" Faux News Report Terrifies An Anxious Flier

The headline says, "Chicago-Bound Flight Diverted After United Express Airline Flight's 10,000 Foot Drop." The story calls this as "a minor accident." The plane did not drop. This was not an accident. The plane was flown - completely under control - to a lower altitude where pressurization was not needed.

Fear of Flying: Suffering From Imagination

Some of us can set improbably disaster aside. Others require it to be impossible. When uncertain, we are bothered by things that bothered us during childhood: being alone, powerless, not responded to, and unable to escape.

Can Using Xanax When Flying Cause PTSD?

“We barely made it. After we landed, they closed the airport. Thank God I had my Xanax to get me through it.” Though life-threatening events happen rarely in aviation, they happen routinely in the Xanax-fueled mind of an anxious flier. Threats to one's life, whether real or imagination-based, can lead to PTSD.

Arousal: Must It Mean Fear and Danger?

We can feel fear when safe. We can feel no fear when in danger. It takes more than feelings to determine whether we are safe or not. A sophisticated system hosted in the pre-frontal cortex does that.

BA's In-Flight Meditation: Good PR. Bad Psychology

Meditation can help a person keep anxiety-producing thoughts out of mind. It works only if the flight is smooth. If turbulence begins, no matter how deep the meditation, when the plane drops, stress hormones are released that push whatever is being focused on out of awareness, and refocus the person on thought of possible danger

Four Quick Videos On Anticipatory Anxiety And Fear of Flying

A vicious cycle can hold you captive in a state of anticipatory anxiety. The thought of your plane crashing - or of having a panic attack - can trigger the release of stress hormones. Once released, these hormones keep your thinking locked on those thoughts, which, in turn, trigger even more stress hormones. How can you break out of this vicious cycle?

Can Psychological Screening Prevent Pilot Suicide?

For every intentional crash there are hundreds of unintentional crashes. The money spent on a wild goose chase trying to keep a suicidal pilot from intentionally crashing would be better spent on training non-suicidal pilots to prevent unintentional (pilot error) crashes.

Why the Germanwings Tragedy Couldn't Happen in the U.S.

Can a flight attendant in the cockpit keep a deranged pilot from intentionally crashing a plane?

"Why Die All Tensed Up?"

The Fighter Weapons School is the Air Force equivalent to the Navy's "Top Gun," of movie fame. A statement posted by one of the instructors on the bulletin board recommended against hypervigilance.

The Germanwings Crash, and How We Can Think About It

As uncomfortable as it is to accept, we now have to deal with the fact that a pilot locked his fellow pilot out of the cockpit and intentionally flew a plane filled with passengers into a mountainside.

Black Boxes Reveal The Cause Of TransAsia Crash

Under stress, a person may - instead of “rising” to the occasion - "descend" to the level of rote training.

Flying Is Safer, Why Doesn't It Seem Safer?

In the 1990s, a study showed that aviation was growing so rapidly that, unless safety grew faster, a crash would occur someplace every week. Would the public believe flying had become unsafe?

Is the AirAsia Crash a Replay of Air France 447?

Until the “black boxes” are found and studied, we will not be sure of the cause of the AirAsia crash. However, two pieces of information point to a replay of the Air France Fight 447 crash five years ago when the plane's speed system malfunctioned.

Fear of Flying's Common Core

Why is the cure of flight phobia like peanut butter? If you have a jar of peanut butter, you can spread it on as many crackers as you like. If you have a supply of genetically based calming, you can spread it on as many anxiety-producing situations as you can come up with, in flight, or elsewhere.

Best Ever Articles On Overcoming Fear Of Flying

Expect some surprises. The therapy most commonly used for anxiety on the ground falls short in the air. Anti-anxiety medications can backfire and make things worse. Breathing exercises - almost universally recommended - do nothing according to research. But, there's good news: the problem can be fixed.

Breathing Exercises: Counterproductive for Flight Anxiety

Almost every article by psychologists on flight anxiety recommends the use of breathing exercises. Why haven't these professionals looked at the research?

Pilot and Blogger Patrick Smith Sets The Record Straight

A top blogger and airline pilot takes William Langewiesche to task for "the most asinine and misleading characterization of an airline pilot’s job that I have ever read in my life."

Branson's Folly

The normalization of narcissism may be the result of an explosive growth of internet media outlets in which the more excessive - and thus the more pathological the narcissism - the more the person is showered with what narcissists want most: attention.

Does Fear Keep Us Safe?

Xenophobia is not just a phobia. It has grown to become a religion subscribed to by about half of us. To determine what makes us safe, we need to separate what makes sense from what is sheer phobia. (Photo of Roberts Field, Liberia, by Patrick Smith)

Is Fear of Flying Really Irrational?

It is often said that fear of flying is irrational. This implies that a person who thinks rationally would not fear flying. Yet, is it rational to have no fear of something truly awful, even though the chance of it happening is extremely low?