Weathering The Storms: The Stress of Severe Weather

Severe weather can cause stress and anxiety; tornadoes, hurricanes, snowstorms, massive rain or flooding, wildfires, even windstorms can wreak emotional and psychological havoc. The recent “Frankenstorm” that hit most of the Eastern United States is no exception. The tornado and hurricane seasons can be long and grueling. After all, how many times can you board up your windows in preparation for a hurricane? Or head to the basement during a tornado? Or dig out from a massive snowstorm? You may not be able to avoid all stressors all the time, but you can make it bearable by learning to recognize the different types of stress and how to cope.

Change your unhelpful thoughts – There have probably been times in your life when you have increased your own anxiety by worrying about something that was completely out of your control, right? Well, the truth is these thoughts are often unrealistic, inaccurate, or unreasonable. Stop and think about how they affect you. Then, change them to more realistic, adaptive thoughts. Ask yourself if it is possible, likely, or unlikely that this situation could occur, then try to change your feelings so they are more realistic.

Practice acceptance – Worrying about something that is out of your control is not helpful and only makes your anxiousness worse. So be as prepared as you can be, then be present-focused. Relax, let the weather do its thing and just breathe. Meditation and yoga are most helpful during these times. Also, along with extra batteries and flashlights, buy some comforting things like chocolate or games to play with your family.

Take a deep breath – Relaxation exercises can ease stress and keep you calm. Yoga, meditation, deep breathing, reading, working puzzles, even watching trash TV can all help to reduce your stress. Prepare as much as you can, then use this time to enjoy friends or family, watch a movie or read a book. Remember, it is pointless to worry about something over which you have no control.

 

Source: Psych Central