Welcome to Mindful Aviator
A mindfulness-based performance and well-being resource for aviation professionals.
Capt. Carl Eisen here, founder of Mindful Aviator.
It’s no secret that quality of life in our industry is deteriorating. As pilots, we’re also held to mythical “super human” standards. Myths aside, we’re human and the stress we often experience can be inhumane. For those who struggle, asking for help may be viewed as a sign of weakness and can even risk income and career. This dangerous and tragic mindset has created an epidemic of pilots suffering in silence. My mission is providing a confidential resource for fellow aviators in practices that are supported by science to reduce stress, improve on task focus and resilience.
I offer a no-nonsense approach based on the same meditation techniques used by Marine Special Forces, Formula One drivers, NBA championship teams and more.
If you’re suffering, it’s important to understand you’re not alone! Confidential help is available. Don’t wait until you’re in full crises mode like so many others.
Put aside any “touchy feely” ideas you have about meditation and check out the free audio recordings below.
Crewmember Attention System Management training (CASM Toolkit):
MBAT, Mindfulness Based Attention Training
Have a seat, give it a try. Just one 10-minute audio a day for 10 days.
- No Silly Postures
- No Incense
- No Nonsense
Capt. Carl Eisen
Click here to learn more about Captain Eisen.
Capt. Matt McNeil
Click here to learn more about Captain McNeil.
Capt. Gord Stevens
Click here to learn more about Captain Stevens.
F/O Mark Irvine
Click here to learn more about F/O Irvine.
Capt. Duarte Lopes
Click here to learn more about Captain Lopes.
Capt. Luis Perez
Click here to learn more about Captain Perez.
Capt. Tim Gaither
Click here to learn more about Captain Gaither.
If you are like me, trust is an absolute must.
What is Mindfulness and Meditation practice?
In simple terms, mindfulness refers to paying attention on purpose to what’s actually happening and not our story or interpretation about what’s happening. Pausing and paying attention in that brief moment between identifying which engine has failed and pulling a fire handle, you’re demonstrating a form of mindful awareness. The term also refers to the quality of awareness that results when we do a series of practices and a particular kind of meditation. The quality of awareness includes the ability to observe our present moment experience in a less stressful, openly curious, non-judgmental way. The advantages of this quality of awareness for pilots are reduced stress, an improvement in situational awareness, a reduction in expectation bias and improved resilience when facing difficulty and challenges.
The basic instruction for the meditation part of the practice is to focus on the direct experience of the sensation of breath in the body. Then, (when the mind inevitably wanders off into thinking) remember that intention to focus on the breath and bring awareness back. It’s like lifting weights or doing reps at the gym. Mindfulness meditation isn’t about clearing your thoughts or relaxed bliss, it’s a training in paying attention (like shutting down the correct engine) that improves over time.
How does Mindfulness and Meditation improve SA?
Each of us has only so much “working memory” to handle a given situation. If awareness is preoccupied with distracted thought, then the distracted thinking is the situation we will be aware of. Having our working memory tied up with distracted thought is like having a dirty windscreen on a jet. Cleared to land, will you see the idiot crossing downfield? Mindfulness and meditation practice effectively frees up working memory (cleans your dirty windscreen) allowing awareness to see more of what’s actually going on “in the moment”.
The experience of anxiety, worry and stress often has to do with inner dialog or how busy our mind is. As pilots, some of this business of mind is useful and necessary, but not all of it.
Mindfulness and Meditation improves our ability to discern what is useful mental chatter and what is not, which can reduce our stress producing ruminative thinking and improving our ability to pay attention.
“Three pilots in my family tested Carl’s meditation recordings. All three of us found them very useful in helping with focus and relaxation. Our son is in pilot training, my wife is dealing with an illness, and I’m dealing with the both of them! All three of us felt the program improved our ability to relax and deal with our particular stress and feelings. We still use the techniques today.”
“The Mindful Aviator program was extremely helpful to me. Getting to know myself better, the ways I react to situations, changed my way of dealing with challenges in the cockpit as well as in my private life. I truly can recommend Carl‘s program to my fellow pilots.”
“Mindfulness for Airline Pilots is a great program! Thank you very much Carl and Matt!”
“I’ve been through Carl’s short program and I’m finding it very useful. I’ll admit I don’t meditate every day, but I do try “checking in” several times a day. I find the practice has allowed me to better cope with the personnel and professional challenges of everyday life. Things that used to send me spinning into stressful rumination don’t have as much impact now and I catch myself more often before reacting on autopilot. Having Carl available to answer questions and explain the practice has been helpful too.”