Most everyone knows someone who has problems with anxiety. Some even have occasional panic attacks. That might even be you, and that's understandable when we have an approaching tropical system. I must confess, I get a little fearful with approaching bad weather. Call it the Katrina/Gustav/2016 Flood Syndrome. And I'm not alone. We're seeing the coverage with Jim Cantore on TV, reflecting back on past damage events that hit South Louisiana very hard, and thinking about what could happen next. So, in the interest of calming some nerves, I sought out some mental pros that know.
According to the National Psychological Association, "The near-constant stream of news about the storm’s arrival can give rise to feelings of stress, anxiety and fear. Recognizing these common emotional reactions and taking steps to prepare for the storm will be helpful in safeguarding your emotional well-being."
Have a plan and implement it. The American Red Cross recommends steps you can take to prepare. Find out about available transportation, relatives who might be able to take you in, shelter locations and other important details that include your pets.
Get the facts. Find a credible news source you can trust (such as your BR iHeartMedia radio stations) that give info from the governor’s office, local or state public health agencies, and National Weather Service. Limit your exposure to news shows that focus on damage and destruction.
Make connections. Good relationships with close friends and family members will go a long way to ease fear. Seek out those people you know who offer regular encouragement and comfort in other areas of your life. They can help with storm stress too.
Stay healthy. A healthy lifestyle — including proper diet, exercise and rest — is your best defense against any threat. A healthy body can have a positive impact on your thoughts and emotions, enabling you to make better decisions and better deal with the hurricane’s uncertainties.
Reach out to your children. Help children by restricting constant viewing of the news, giving them realistic assurances that plans are in place to keep them safe and maintaining their routines as much as possible. Older children get scared too.
Maintain a hopeful outlook. Remember that the federal government, your state government and many nongovernmental disaster services agencies are tracking and preparing for the hurricane. Draw upon skills that have helped you successfully manage past challenges to help you through the current storm.
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