Great article. I have suffered from a fear of flying that has gotten better over the years and largely only shows up in turbulence now. I have similarly realized that it is largely about control. I realized a number of my coping mechanisms were about trying to exercise control:
- Excessively checking the weather in advance of the flight.
- Obsessively checking the in-flight status when available on how much time is left and what altitude we are at.
- Always taking a window seat so that I can keep an eye on things outside.
- Grabbing the armrest when things get bumpy.
From work in a 12 step program, I have learned to say a couple of things that help me calm down.
- The fear prayer: god, relieve of fear and direct me to what you would have me be. (You don’t have to believe in god for that to work — only believe that there are powers greater/other than you who have more control.) God would have me put my trust in the people trained to manage these things.
- “This plane is not my responsibility. The pilots know what they are doing. It is their job.”
Thanks for the thoughtful essay.