What are the situations that make you stress?
We all have them in our minds, some past stressful situations. So how can we identify them?
Categorising them will allow you to select the one you need to work on first!

1. Weak control of a situation

To help you visualise the situations, here are the circles of influence:

If you are stressed by a situation that is out of your control (green circle), then it is an unnecessary waste of energy.
Example: the weather changes, and you may not be able to achieve your goal or flight.

The orange circle can be worrying, but we can influence the outcome.
Example: I worry every time I take off that I have a knot in the lines. I then check these points correctly until my mind is cleared.

Cercle de contrôle

The blue circle is in my control, so I can act and find a solution.
Example: I have an asymmetrical closure, it is within my control to counter it, it is a present situation: I have to do it. In this case, in order to avoid additional stress, it is useless to imagine the consequences of this closure before acting.
When stressed by a loss of control, or a loss of concentration, redirect your attention and energy to the present moment to find the solution.

2. Unpredictability

The unexpected is scary and consumes energy.
For example: the weather conditions may change, I may not have the right glide to hang up the mountain, I don’t know if there will be a thermal on the other side, etc…

You have to accept this game in our sport, nothing is set in stone and fortunately, each time it’s a little adventure that you have to complete with its share of unforeseen events. To anticipate these situations, avoid habits, force yourself to change your hiking route, to vary your flying sites, to go for a run or a walk in a forest without having prepared too much in advance.
The unexpected is part of outdoor sports, so it is important to feel comfortable with this notion to limit your stress.

3. Newness

Stress can be related to something you have never done or do very little of, I would say that is normal. What is stressing you out is not being able to exploit this novelty, it may be important to revise your goals when you do something new.

Example 1: I have to do an exercise in the SIV course? It is normal not to do it perfectly, so relax and focus on what you do control.
Example 2: You are flying in a different location to your usual site, it is normal to be a little confused, and normal that you cannot operate the site as well as the premises, so relax and watch the pilots fly.

4. Ego threatened

You stress about underperforming. But having a small failure gives you the opportunity to try again, so choose this option!
Defend a goal already achieved. The days are different, your resources are different, your flights are different, so just do your best.
You worry about what others will say. Separating yourself from the gaze of others is a challenge in itself in our “social media” society. Set your own goals and analyse your mistakes, you are the only judge and critic.

Example 1: You are seen as a group leader and you are in a bad way at the moment. It is important not to lie to yourself and risk taking risks. Be clear with yourself and be honest with others, you can’t be on top all the time (even if the social networks show you otherwise).
Example n°2: you have been on a good progression phase for 1 year and at the moment you are accumulating bad feelings, and you are not seeing as many results. This situation should not cause you stress, you are simply in a moment of stabilisation of your achievements on a performance plateau. Progression is not linear, it forms steps, larger at the beginning of the progression and smaller afterwards. Obviously, our ego and confidence are at their peak when we climb the steps, and they are put to the test when nothing goes as planned. So you have to be positive and tell yourself that you are close to the next step!

nuage et parapente

Conclusion

If you accumulate these ingredients, you risk being in excessive stress and therefore in danger.
We are all subject to these 4 ingredients, so it is important to change them, one by one, as you wish.
These tips highlight what you might be doing, but more importantly they show that it is possible to do better.
Making yourself aware and autonomous in your choices will help you gain confidence and self-esteem.

Good thinking and good flying!

FabienParagliding instructor and mental coach

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