The parasympathetic nervous system is activated by the face, voice quality, and body-language of a person who is no threat psychologically or physically.
If anxiety is getting in your way, you can train your parasympathetic nervous system to kick in when you are stressed, down-regulate anxiety, and protect your clear thinking.
Spoiler alert! There is nothing you can do. In a state of panic, you are frozen.
Overthinking is impaired thinking that happens when a person does not have the psychological processes needed to activate their calming parasympathetic nervous system.
This strategy controls anxiety and panic during takeoff, cruising up high, and in turbulence. It also controls anxiety and panic in elevators, on bridges, in tunnels, and in a MRI.
To be more comfortable when you don’t have a friend with you, pre-link your friend’s presence to an upcoming challenging situation,
Engine failures are rare. An airline pilot who had one told me “It just seemed like I was in the simulator. It really didn’t get me excited.”
The worst crash in aviation history occurred when a captain believed he was cleared for takeoff and dismissed his copilot’s doubts. There is a lesson there for all of us.
To avoid falling prey to our own imagination, we need to maintain a sense of what kind of mental processing is going on, so we know when what we have in mind isn’t real.