Anxiety/ Alertness and performance, are they related?

‘The mind is like a parachute, it only works when it’s open’ –  I read this on a funny calendar in the 80’s which give it little credibility. If we assume the mind closes somewhat when it’s stressed, the funny quote rings truth.

Research into this field from my university studies (2008-2013) is currently limited. Having taught paragliding for over 17 years, I have grown an acute sense of perception when it comes to peoples anxiety. People tend to display different behaviors while under stress. Rapid breathing, forgetting basic skills that have been displayed in previous classes like putting on a helmet or basic ground handling.

My personal take on the topic is that there is a pattern where performance is at its peak when alertness is at a moderate level. Measuring both performance as well as alertness/ anxiety has it’s own challenges.

Rather than quote research from studies achieved in other sports for now I simply wish to declare that I have a personal interest in the production of a experiment that forms a theoretical model. I strongly believe that the development of a theoretical model has the ability to predict ‘danger zones’ for paragliding students whilst they are under instruction. I hypothesis that monitoring the bodies physiological responses including heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature and corticosterone/cortisol secretion during training can significantly increase the safety margins during a training course.

If you consider your self a ‘nervous person’ or someone that wants to overcome some anxiety as an established pilot and you would like to learn more about how you can take control of your stress levels by mastering you own anxiety levels then please contact me and we can devise a plan.

I have successfully engaged with students and advanced pilots wishing to get more comfortable in the air and I look forward to meeting you and posting more useful and practical information to help you get into the air and feel in complete harmony with your wing.

Andrew Polidano

3/1/2016