Friday, March 2, 2012

Four flights, four opportunities to practice

As frequent readers of my blog know, I am not a huge fan of flying. Thankfully, I have my Recovery tools to help me.

This week I had a day trip that required me to be on four planes in one day. I tried to remember that anticipation is often worse than realization. On the first flight I was very nervous and on edge. I did not make a full effort to address my symptoms.

By the second flight I knew I had to make my mental health a business. So instead of sitting and worrying, I decided to focus on reading my graduate class's textbook. Amazingly, even when the plane experienced turbulence, I remained calm and indifferent. I applied Dr. Low's method of using objectivity to concentrate on something else. This strategy worked on my third flight as well. On the fourth flight I spoke with a fellow passenger during the trip to keep my mind off my fears--another form of objectivity. And once the trip was over, I endorsed for having the will to effort and tolerating uncomfortable feelings.

Before Recovery I would have been terrified during the entire experience. I might have even avoided the trip altogether. But with my Recovery training I know it is not how I feel but how I function that really matters. Despite some uncomfortableness, I muddled through. I chose obligation over inclination, and I demonstrated leadership in my own Recovery process.

11 comments:

Jane said...

endorse your efforts:-)

Anonymous said...

"Anticipation is worse than realization". I love that, it is so true.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. I'm afraid of heights myself so when I went on my first plane ride, I didn't know what to expect and the anticipation was killing me. But after it actually started it wasn't that bad, and it may have been because I tried a lot of what you did-reading magazines and conversing with the person in the seat next to mine.
Anyways thanks again

-Nate @ stressdemolisher.com

michael said...

great article!
affirmations really help train the mind from negative thinking patterns that cause anxiety/depression to positive mind sets.
please take a look at my web site for a download of powerful affirmations set to hypnotic music. www.anxietyreliefaffirmations.com

Jason said...

Very true post, I will definitely agree that anticipation is far worse than the experience itself. We always seem to work ourselves up before hand, when it turns out we didn't need to. I had a similar experience with flying, but it was more for the fact of flying alone and just being trapped, I was able to practice great breathing techniques that significantly helped. Great Post! Check out my website it you'd like.
Help With Panic Attacks

nervousgirl said...

Endorse for bearing so much discomfort and for your high-average spotting. Even though I don't dread flying, I can relate to your apprehension about it. Thanks for the article.

AJ said...

Hey Doug! I really enjoyed reading this post. I also agree that anticipation can often be worse than realization. Sometimes we realize that things aren't so bad after they take place.

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Dean said...

Flying anxiety is a big one - it's truly an all or nothing leap - congratulations. The shear fact that you had four flights allowed for some exposure therapy and desenitization - along with the all important cognitive thought work that you did. Thanks Dean helpformystress.com

Anxiety Central said...

This gives me hope. Besides my anxiety and panic disorder I am terrified of flying. I had accepted that I would never get on a plane again but I have since met friends online who live overseas and I really want to visit them.

Gilly @ http://www.anxiety-central.com/

Lilia Dyal said...

Wow, the statement “anticipation is worse than realization” stands true for everybody in any situation. Nevertheless, it’s great to hear you found a way around your anxiety and fear of heights, and that you were able to enjoy majority of your flights. Keep practicing! You’ll do just fine!