By RoxanneB 07 Feb 2022 2 min read

How to manage your stress - Aviation Action

In this article our partners - Aviation Action, a mental health and support charity created by aviation people for aviation people, share ways you can manage your stress. 


It is without doubt that life presents its own individual challenges. These can arise in many ways that are through choice or not. Who expected or could plan for coronavirus to stop the world and play havoc with so many lives? 

How many times have you looked at your own situation and thought, what am I doing? Where am I? Or, what is the point to this idea or pathway we fall into?

Is your time shared so much that you are neglecting your right to your own downtime, relaxation and enjoyment?

Do not worry because you are not alone, and you will not be the last person to feel this way. Perhaps our way of thinking can sound really self-critical as we strive constantly to impress in every area of our life!

It is not a negative to be self-critical; it is a way of directing your ambition or thoughts to know what you want from a specific situation. It could be time to take five minutes and realign.

What is our mental picture? Do you feel positive, negative, weighed down by financial pressures, choked in a relationship, succeeding in your work so much you find it hard to maintain that level of performance or stuck jumping hoops trying to progress our careers and juggle family life? 


Everybody is different 

Everybody is different when it comes to stress management; stress affects our mental picture and ultimately the ability to communicate clearly in some ways.

Not everyone will have somebody they can talk to about whichever situation they face. Here at Aviation Action, we have some mental models below which may help to alleviate some pressures and help channel the mind into some constructive compartmentalising. 

Perhaps all of these life pressures mentioned above are having some influence on your life right now. 

I refer to these thoughts as 'stimulators of change', and with change comes a variety of positive steps that can be achievable. Now nobody said it would be easy but taking the first steps are massive and well done! 

Write down your biggest pressures, worries, ideas, etc. This is a good way to release without necessarily needing to speak to somebody directly. This is a proven method to help see something in a visual way and clear your mind. Perhaps date this document so at some point through your journey you could look back and say "Wow, I have achieved a lot".

Sometimes having a clear structure can really help our capacity to think. In a flight deck, pilots use mental models a lot to deal with abnormal and stressful situations. Maybe try this pilot model technique to evaluate your situation.



Time and Targets, Diagnose, Options, Decide, Assess, Risk and Review

Time and Targets: Apply your situation to this model. For example, you are stressed about a financial or relationship issue or you have ambition that is slightly out of reach right now? How long have you dealt with this feeling for? How long do you think this could go on for? Ideally, when would you like this to realistically be over by or achieved by?

Diagnose: What really is the underlying cause of the problem? Be honest with yourself.

Options: What avenues of help are available? Do you continue with the plan you have? or will you decide to take a U-turn and back out of an idea? . . . Any ideas are fine because we will review them below and see if this is working. It is important to remember that you are not alone in this process; you could discuss your options with our peer-support team, your family, friends, etc.

Decide: Once you have a range of possible ideas to explore, map out the pros and cons for each and decide on which avenue to pursue. This isn’t fixed or completely final. It allows us to move forward having made a decision that will ultimately tell us whether it was right or could be changed later.

Assess: Have you been following your decision for a few days, weeks or a month? The timelines, of course. could be different depending upon your situation. In the case of a pilot, this entire process could be completed in a matter of minutes. 

Applying this model to a real-life financial-stress situation, for example, could be a strategy that runs over several years. You get the idea, so make it your own. Take some time out to sit down and review how your decision has impacted your life; this is a potential marker to adopt a new direction if things were not working out as planned.

Try one of your other options and adopt that for a while. Only you know the right answers in the end.

Risk and Review: Like anything in life, some decisions come with risk. Assess the impact a decision may have on you and those around you, like family or friends. Risk can be identified in many ways     

− it may mean moving to take on a new opportunity, for example putting distance between old friends. Think of the new possibilities though and your journey. Remember too, in this process that this is your model and ultimately you are the Captain.

You will find pessimists, optimists and all other kinds of advice along the way, but remember you are in control. Utilise this tool if this article was of interest and maybe it will be useful to you. 


Click here to learn more about Aviation Action -


Photo by Fernando Brasil on Unsplash