Your Emotions on Board a Plane

by guest blogger Psicoline

In psychology, “emotions” are defined as a temporary, complex and multifactorial state that is incorporated into physical and psychological changes that, in turn, strongly influence thinking and behaviour. Emotions are fundamental to personal development, so it is important to identify and understand them. There are several theories about emotions and what they are, so we will use the
Wheel of Emotions by Robert Plutchik as a tool to identify them. 

Emotions are of course, a major factor in your daily life; your emotional state can affect you when facing different situations, including taking a plane. In this article we are going to link emotions with phobias, and we are also going to analyse how the correct management of emotions can allow you to have greater control when facing phobias – and in particular aerophobia. 

Identifying Emotions

Emotions remain a big unknown for many. Being able to express your emotions or feelings to others without feeling vulnerable is a big struggle in daily life. The first step before expressing yourself is to identify the emotions you are feeling or experiencing at that moment. 

To identify them, we have chosen the theory of the Wheel of Emotions as a tool; with it, you can recognise basic emotions, the ones that are crucial for survival, and then be able to engage with more complex emotions. 

This theory is made up of eight basic emotions that rarely occur on their own and are expressed in varying degrees of intensity: 

  • Joy: a positive emotion, which people express as a state of well-being and satisfaction with themselves and their environment. It does not necessarily occur by itself; it can be accompanied by other basic emotions.
  • Fear: an emotion with a negative connotation, considered a universal and instinctive reaction especially in the face of threats.
  • Confidence: the belief that you can act without worry or risk. When you experience it intensely, exaltation occurs.
  • Sadness: another negative connotation, often linked to loss, and it allows you to obtain social support from your environment.
  • Anger: this emotion arises from confrontation, mainly with another person, but can also be applied to a situation in which you find yourself.
  • Surprise: considered to be a neutral emotion, a reaction to an unexpected stimulus from your environment.
  • Aversion: the feeling of dislike towards a person, thing, or situation.
  • Anticipation: a basic emotion linked to the search for resources or alternatives in advance through the generation of expectations. It allows for preparation. 

Emotions which Occur when Faced with Aerophobia

When you’re exposed to a phobia, many present and future thoughts go through your head. You experience these thoughts in varying degrees of intensity. It’s when you lose control of the situation that it is considered a phobia. 

When you suffer from aerophobia it’s important to identify the emotions you experience on a flight. Different people may feel different emotions, but the most common ones for aerophobia are fear, anxiety, frustration, anger and uncertainty. As you can see in this list, both basic and complex emotions surface. 

These emotions have a negative connotation as they can lead to somatisation, i.e. physical symptoms. For example, when you are afraid you may become paralysed or blocked, which would trigger anxiety. 

Emotion Management

Learning to manage emotions is important so that they do not become dysfunctional. Emotions are instinctive and make you adapt to your environment. If these emotions are not properly managed, they could lead to emotional disorders. 

Your first impulse is to want to eliminate negative emotions and only keep the positive ones, but they are useful and necessary and are part of your life experience. The best you can do is to accept them. 

The problem arises when they become very intense and last for a long time, creating generalised discomfort. Although you cannot change the emotion itself, you must change your reaction to it and accept it as part of your survival.

If you’re afraid to fly, would you be able to identify the emotions that occur in you? This is a very important first step in learning to transcend them.

Photo | skynesher