New ways for fearful flyers to think about turbulence

hi this is lesbos on flat why's fear of

flying clinical psychologist welcome to

January 2018 I hope you've had a restful

break here in Australia it's summer


in Melbourne where I am it's about 40

degrees centigrade so hope you're trying

to keep cool if you're a local or keep

warm if you are in the northern

hemisphere I've just come back from a

very restful cruise on board ship where

I gave some lectures about two things

that I love to talk about and that's

technology and how I apply to what we

know about the brain in particular of

service to people who suffer with

anxiety today I want to talk to you

about anxiety with regard to one of the

presenting features which comes to fear

of flying and that's anxiety with

turbulence so here we have a little

model plane so in this particular little

video just a couple of minutes long I'm

gonna share with you some ideas that I

share with my patients about turbulence

one of the things that people feel about

turbulence is that you're sitting still

in a plane unaware that it's doing 500

not 600 miles an hour 750 kilometers an

hour forward you don't feel any movement

when it's smooth but then we do feel a

movement it tends to be this or this or

sway okay so this is call heave and this

is called sway and this is called pitch

okay so these are some of the sensations

people feel and the trouble is when

you're moving forward at 600 miles an

hour and there's a downward vector we

feel like a fall and hence we think that

there's an air pocket that is the air is

no longer there and the plane can no

longer sustain lift and at false of

course this is nonsense planes do not

come forward 600 miles an hour

oops no air drop Oh Moorea goes back 600

miles an hour doesn't work this way as

we come along and there's a downward

victor we may experience a sensation

due to our inner ear experiencing a

change of acceleration as we move down

and move up if every down there will be

an up so you have to expect two things

one of them will cause you to feel heavy

in the seat and the other one will cause

you to feel a little bit lighter on the

seat whatever happens you'll feel a bit

of a queasy sensation in the stomach the

more sensitive you are the more you'll

feel queasy so in the case that it takes

to fall 200 feet and maybe 200 feet it's

actually not really falling because in

the time that we've gone in a vertical

direction 200 feet and then back up 200

feet we've probably gone forward half a

mile I'm going to use international

aviation terms which is miles or rather

than kilometers or whatever else so in

fact if we could slow this down it would

be more like me and going forward it's

not comfortable stop fall go back up and

continue that's work that way and I was

telling in the flight and the offices of

pilots that is the flight deck we're

coming to cloud and I've said to

patients this is pre 2001 when we could

get into flight Dix I said have a look

at the old temperature we're about to

come to clouds it's gonna get a little

bit bumpy and we look at the altimeter

Patti moves if you put water onto your

table or your tray table in a seat

during turbulence you'll see the water

sort of splashes a little bit but

doesn't leave those to suddenly go up in

the air so that's the the general sense

of what happens in terms we go along and

go and then we continue along now I have

a second explanation for you I bothered

my field over my shoulder you might see

some of the aeroplane seats that I use

and some photos which when people sit in

the seats that like gee see kind of a

life-size image of what looks like to

sit in those seats just to start my

exposure work so for my second

demonstration we have a the same sort of

plane but this time I've embedded it in


not just any old jelly but mmm raspberry

jelly as a kid I love Rossler jelly you

may have liked it as well and so what I

did is I simply took a plane like this

simply a model you can buy online

what blight but as this is 747-300


how they see any of these anymore in the

air and I took it's a similar model same

collection this is a 400 series and I

made a layer of jelly let it sit put my

model on top then got a second layer of

Joey liquid and put it on top and let it

sit so now as you can see we have an

aircraft embedded in jelly and this is a

little model what I ask patients to do

get into the smell of it because we tend

to store odors with an emotional quality

to it such as been reading childhood in

areas of the brain quite similar quite

close to where our threatened and fear

centers would appear to be in the limbic

system what we're trying to do is

calibrate that limbic system and tell it

this is not a threat so if we tap on the

side as I'm about to do the plane might

wobble in the jelly do it front on down

plane might wobble in the jelly from the

back and more important from underneath

the jelly doesn't some the open app and

the plane falls through when you're

doing 600 miles an hour even in very

thin air which is where your jet engines

operate the most efficiently in terms of

fuel less resistance of course we're


at 39,000 feet and it's colder where the

ancients operate more efficiently

nonetheless doing six hundred miles an

hour the air tax on the property of

liquid and it's almost liquid that

becomes a bit of viscous thick Concorde

when it was flying commercially actually

lengthened by about eight inches or so

even though it's minus sixty at 60,000

feet or fifty thousand feet because of

the friction of the air going along the

side of the middle and would actually

extend by about eight inches in

mid-flight so the air is doing something

up there it's there's nothing that's

because you can't sit does I mean it

doesn't exist well the plane flies

through turbulence as if its viscous

like jelly okay sorry sometimes use this

to illustrate so people can have in

their mind this is what's going on and I

usually suggest to people take some some

raspberries and strawberry juice or

something to suck on so that smell that

reminds you turbulence might be

uncomfortable moving around but it's not

unsafe and this has to become your new

mantra so now we have two ways to think

about turbulence to try and recalibrate

try and change it from children's is

terrible I can't standard into planes

can handle turbulence is just like

flying through jelly and secondly planes

do not drop and go back up and continue

its basically rip along because by the

time it's moved up and down geography is

actually gone forward maybe half a mile

so I hope this helps you try to

recalibrate how your brain is assembling

the knowledge about turbulence again

much more the manner you want to

practice turbulence might be

uncomfortable it's not unsafe so I hope

you enjoyed this little video and let me


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