Monday, May 28, 2012

Mantra: Feelings are not facts

Regular readers of my blog know that I have practicing Dr. Low’s teachings to help me overcome fear of flying. Recently I had a four-hour trip to Phoenix (and another on the way back). I am endorsing for using Recovery tools to help me through the experience. Among those I found particularly useful:
  • When booking my flight I chose an aisle, instead of a window, seat. When things get bumpy I have a tendency to look out the window, which I think is a fear-reinforcing behavior. Therefore, to better control my muscles I chose a seat away from the window.
  • During takeoff, when things are a bit bumpy, I kept repeating to myself, “Feelings are not facts.” Just because I felt something was wrong and was worried the plane was in trouble did not mean that was reality (in fact, quite the opposite). I ignored my body sensations (sweaty palms, racing heart, etc.). For the first few minutes into the flight, this was my mantra.  
  • I focused on reading a graduate school textbook for most of the flight, forcing myself to focus on something objective. This way I ignored a lot of the little bumps that are average during any flight.
  • When the plane encountered some mild turbulence, I returned to my mantra of “Feelings are not facts.” At these times I could not focus on reading. I excused myself for that.
  • Upon landing I gave myself a hearty endorsement. In fact, I’m still endorsing. I am not endorsing because I wasn’t nervous; I’m endorsing because I practiced Recovery teachings and am making my mental health a business. Before Recovery, the flight would have been a lot more uncomfortable.
I have more flights coming up, but I’m not dreading them as much as I used to. Recovery is helping me with everyday, average experiences such as flying.  

10 comments:

Spiritual Growth said...

Anxiety is something that we are all dealing from time to time... We must work on our clean spirit and when our spirit is clean, it is calm also.

Tessa Snow said...

I love this post. Flying is hard for me too, and I think that the feelings are not facts manta will definetly help me. I am working on my blog chronicling my journey with anxiety... check it out: http://lettingthebeautyin.blogspot.com/

Matt said...

Good post- I also pick an aisle seat so that I don't have to look out the window, and it helps me.. I also listen to my meditation track on my mp3 player which reminds me to slow down and concentrate on my breathing- its important to have a set of coping mechanisms...

Anonymous said...

Hey man do you want let me guest post on your blog and in exchange I will put link to my website at end of post. Here is link to my website:

http://anxietyspot.net

mimkey212 said...

This is a really interesting lecture from UCSF about WHY we are anxious and how it actually means you have sort of an impressively high performance brain. Made me feel a little better today - proud of my neurosis! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceVJNa-kGHA

Doug Edwards said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doug said...

Hi, everyone. Thank you for your comments. I was especially intrigued that Matt also finds choosing an aisle seat to be helpful.

Hypnotizr.com said...

Yes, liked your blog and yea i too agree with matt, everyone has to or have some type of coping method to relax themselves from anxiety. The Breathing techniques that really works for everyone.

David Anderson said...

Anxiety is very common to us. Sometimes, we need to face it so we can learn and move on. When riding an airplane, I would choose the seat near the window so I can see the things below but during a turbulence, I cannot look to the window, it will made me more nervous, all we know we are at a high altitude. Maybe sitting in the aisle is a great idea.

8910Yellow said...

My anxiety and my fear of flying ruled my life for far too long. This mantra - 'feelings are not facts' - was one of the things I had written on my flash cards while doing my fear of flying course. The cards still travel with me but I never have look at them anymore.

I have such a sense of freedom now, both literally and figuratively. I have started a blog to try and clear my head and make sense of my anxiety http://eightninetenyellow.blogspot.com.au/

I also once read somewhere that the easiest way to deal with an issue is to 'forget to remember that you have one'. Sounds easier said than done, but it has certainly worked for me on occasion.

I still get nervous when I fly but each and every time I get on a plane it gets better not worse. It's quite liberating.

I'm enjoying your blog, thanks.