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Pilot Stress in Aviation and How Psychology can Help

Looking for meanings for the word stress, means “to be under pressure” or “to be under the action of persistent stimulus”. Stress is the finger that often pushes the first domino causing serious dysfunction in the body. Low flight, low speed, failed or deficient maintenance and obstacles on the ground are some challenges or causes for the pilot’s physical exhaustion in agricultural aviation.

Emotional tiredness causes physical and mental disorders in the aviator. In many cases, they need to be removed from the work environment in order to be treated. Some symptoms of stress are: insomnia, fatigue, constant headaches, body aches, intestinal changes, rapid hear rate, sweating, increased blood pressure, nausea, among others.

The work environment can also cause behavioral changes in people, making them more aggressive and making social life more difficult. Frequent fights, pressure and demands are crucial factors in creating a tense environment, which ends up interfering with employees’ behavior.

In order to deal with this evil, it is necessary to find out its causes and know how to deal with it. Since several people in the same environment could be suffering from the same evil, it increases the apprehensive climate and any misinterpreted word becomes a reason for further disagreements.

Psychological tips to control stress at work

In order to maintain safety and avoid an aviation accident, the domino effect must be removed. The worker must take measures to avoid possible stressors.


Physical measures

Exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, sleep properly and in sufficient amounts, control the timing of sounds and noises and adapt to the physical environment in which one finds itself.

Don’t try to control the uncontrollable

Many things are beyond our control – especially other people’s behavior. Instead of trying to change or complain about them, focus on what you can control, such as the way you choose to react to unresolved attitudes.

Count on the other

Try to surround yourself with positive people in the workplace and in your personal life. Having someone to let off steam to and feel supported by can help you reduce tension and see ways out of problems. Seeking help is a sign of strength and a way to return to a healthy emotional state more quickly.


Breathing deeply and slowly can help in times of acute stress. Sit comfortably, close your eyes if you can and inhale for five seconds, hold and exhale through your nose for a count of ten. Repeat five times. This simple technique will help you relax, combat the symptoms of anxiety and stress, and restore balance.

Psychological measures

Prepare with knowledge, skills and procedures. Have confidence in your training and try to have a well-balanced social and family life. Work to where financial and personal concerns are not a problem. Solve problems as quickly as possible, in order to avoid a snowball effect of issues going unattended.

If you feel that stress is dominating your life, seek professional help. In therapeutic sessions, the patient will find a space where he can talk about his anguish, feelings, doubts and feel welcomed and recognized in his pain. Allowing for empathetic listening, recognition and acceptance, act to bring comfort in a time of difficulties.

Alleviation of symptoms and complaints of agricultural aviation professionals reduces conflicts with more effective and satisfactory results for everyone. Regardless of the stage of stress, it is possible to seek treatment, whether conventional or alternative. This results in dedicated workers, happy with their work, with greater creativity and interaction in the business environment.

Gleice Silva is currently studying psychology. She works at PrevOne Diagnostics and Prevention based in Brazil. The company is responsible for implementing Prevention and Control Programs for the Use of Psychoactive Substances in aviation, including customization of programs, training, exams and toxicological tests.






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