One of the ways we regulate our feelings is by movement. If something interests us, we move closer to it. If something threatens us, we move away from it. If our movement is blocked, we feel threatened.

We also feel threatened if movement is imposed on us. In turbulence, for example, there are intrusive up-and-down movements. Psychologically, movement forced on us is the equivalence of being blocked and unable to escape, for movements are forced on us that we can't control, we can't produce the movements needed to execute an escape.

Another difficult movement issue involves takeoff. The plane must accelerate down the runway until the air is flowing fast enough over the wings for the plane to fly. We don't mind acceleration when we cause it. We are fine with the acceleration we feel when we speed up to get on a highway. But takeoff acceleration can be different. During takeoff, acceleration is done to us. If we let it, takeoff acceleration can put us in the role of victim.

To deal with feelings caused by takeoff acceleration, an anxious flier needs to embrace the experience. How? When getting on a highway, knowing you have plenty of acceleration makes you feel safe. It's similar for a pilot. A pilot wants enough acceleration to reach takeoff speed with plenty of runway remaining. Now that you can appreciate that having lots of runway left when you reach takeoff speed, is a good thing, you can also appreciate that greater acceleration during takeoff means greater safety.

There is a second acceleration issue: unfamiliarity. You are used to accelerating for ten seconds to get on a highway. But, before leaving the runway, an airliner must accelerate to three times the speed you need to get on a highway. That means the plane will be accelerating three times longer than you are used to.

Let's assume your amygdala is used to ten seconds of acceleration. When acceleration continues well past what it is used to, your amygdala will regard this as non-routine, and zap you with stress hormones to get your attention. The stress hormones activate your high-level thinking - executive function - to determine whether this long period of acceleration is benign or a threat that needs to be acted on.

To come up with the right answer, your executive function needs to be cool, calm and collected. Persons who suffer from anxiety lack the psychological programming to quickly minimize feelings of alarm. This leaves executive function impaired, often unable to recognize there is no danger. Since an anxious person tends to stay alarmed until the stress hormones wear off, the feeling of alarm makes them believe they are in danger whether they are not.

To feel safe when you fly, the acceleration problem needs to be headed off. Keep the amygdala from reacting to extended acceleration by linking acceleration to the memory of a situation in which you produced oxytocin. Reduce the effect stress hormones have on your thinking by linking feelings of alarm (rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, sweatiness, tension, etc.) to the face, voice, and touch of a person who has a calming effect on you. Details on how feelings can be controlled are included in all the SOAR courses.