Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Flying without fear

We have recently read books about anxiety and how to overcome it. I was reading on CNN news an article, actually, it was more of a confession of a flight pilot who had encountered a near death experience while scuba diving, and has been struggling with panic attacks since.
The process the pilot uses to overcome his fear of flying has become one of the greatest challenges in his life. However, it is possible to fight anxiety attacks and the steps he took are very similar to the steps described on the books:

1) Mental rehearsal- the pilot has discovered that it's best not to fight your panic attack, just know that these feelings will pass.
2) Rely on your wing man- have someone to talk to and that will help you go through this difficult time. Having a wing man reminded the pilot he wasn't alone, and he could count on his wing man to help him through times of crisis. It gave him courage to know he wasn't alone.
3) Focus on what you love - The pilot brought a pair of angel wings to every training he had. It reminded him of God's love for him. He also brought pictures of his niece and nephew, which gave meaning to his mission.

In a world that spins too fast and doesn't have time to wait for us to stand up and face our uncountable fears, 3 simple steps can make a big difference in our lives. Being able to understand and help loved ones that have developed an anxiety condition is not only a task, but a love mission.
I believe it is important to understand that any of us can go through an anxiety episode, and need help to get back in our feet. Understanding our human condition will maintain us all in the same level. We are not better than them, nor worse.
I also believe we need to focus on preventing anxiety, knowing that God is in charge and since He has already done the best for us, we can continue on trusting that He has our best interest in mind and we are deeply loved.
Later on, the pilot describes what he has learned from this experience, and maybe we all need to learn that too: we don't have to be perfect all the time. If it is too much, we can take a break, breathe, and then jump back on the mission. We just don't need to do everything all the time. It's ok to take a day off, rest, and a take a time for yourself. It's just ok.

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