Jessy was lying in her bed looking out the window. She knew a thunderstorm was approaching. When she saw outside, the sky was turning dark, and there was a loud sound of lightning. Her fear was so strong that she hid under her blanket. She wanted to overcome her fear of thunder but did not know how.
In this article, we will first understand what is the fear of thunder. Following this, we will discuss some reasons why people have this fear and how it feels. Finally, we will share some tips to deal with and overcome this fear.
Let us start by defining key terms that you will come across in this article:
- Fear of Thunder – Every time there is thunder or lightning, people start to worry. When there is a storm approaching, people get anxious, their heart beats faster, and feel shortness of breath. Because of such fears, they check the weather all the time.
Anxiety – It is a constant worry people have about unknown situations. This worry is so strong that it affects day-to-day life.
Why Do People Have Fear of Thunder?
Before we go into the reasons why people have this fear, let us understand the difference between fear and caution. For example, if you are making plans to go for an outdoor event but the weather forecast shows that there is a thunderstorm approaching. What would you do in such a situation?
People who do not fear thunder will change or cancel their plans. However, if you have a fear of thunder, you will observe that you are getting tense. You will feel stuck and unable to think because you are feeling scared.
But what causes this fear? And why do people find it difficult to overcome their fear of thunder? Let’s understand the causes a little more in detail.
Learned from Family Members
Many fears are learned from others. As a child, if you have seen other people getting scared during a thunderstorm, you will also learn to fear thunder
History of Anxiety in FamilyApart from looking at others, fears also run in the family. This means that parents can pass their worries down to their children.
Bad Experiences in the Past
If you were caught in a terrible thunderstorm or you have lost a loved one due to a thunderstorm. It can particularly be very difficult for you as it may bring up bad memories.
Sometimes, however, even when everything is okay, you may develop a fear of thunder. It can also be a mix of all the above-mentioned causes.
How Does It Feel to Have This Fear?
When a storm is approaching, people start feeling intense fear. However, this fear of thunder is stronger than the actual situation. This means that the reaction people have to this situation is ten times bigger than the actual thunder. You will observe some changes in your body in the face of fear:
- Chest pain
- Feel like you are fainting
- Stomach problems
- Heart racing
- Feel like you want to vomit
- Shortness in breath
- Your body starts trembling.
Along with these physical symptoms, there are some typical behaviors you may observe when faced with a fear of thunder.
- Avoiding thunder and lightning, sometimes even images of thunder
- Getting scared of thunder when it appears in TV shows or movies
- Fearing weather change, constantly checking the forecast
- The fear is so strong that it interferes with your life. You want to overcome this fear of thunder but find it extremely difficult to even talk about it.
How Do I Overcome the Fear of Thunder?
People vary in their degree of fear of thunder. Some may feel mild discomfort while others may worry about the next thunderstorm. Irrespective of the degree, it is important to overcome this fear.
Accepting You Fear
If you want to overcome your fear of thunder, the first step is to accept you are scared. As an adult, sometimes you may worry about what people will say if you tell them about this fear. However, you would be interested to know that fear of thunder is very common.
Make a Plan
If you stay in a place where thunder and lightning create a major problem, your fear is understandable. A good way to overcome this fear of thunder is to have a plan ready to be safe. Remember, fear and anxiety stem from not knowing how to handle a situation.
Take a moment and note down the safest places in your house during thunder. If you are caught in a thunderstorm when you are outdoors, what would you do? Make a plan for such a situation as well. As much as possible, stay in the car. A car is the safest place to be in during thunder.
Share this plan with someone close to you so that they can help you when you start to worry.
Learn Relaxation Techniques
Another important way to overcome your fear of thunder is to learn some relaxation techniques. Sit in a comfortable position on a chair and relax your whole body. Close your eyes and start deep breathing. Take a deep breath in for four counts. Hold your breath for 6 counts. Now, slowly let your breath out for 4 counts.Keep doing this till you feel your heart rate slowing down and your body feeling lighter. Maintain complete focus on your breath. Along with this, you can start listening to a guided meditation or some calming music.
Have a Calming Corner
In your room, make a small space where you can keep all the things that keep you calm. You can use this corner to distract yourself whenever there is a thunderstorm. Keep a playlist of all your favorite songs, books, and snacks. You also keep your favorite movies and tv series ready to help distract you.
Talk to Someone
People who try to face their anxieties alone are less likely to overcome their fear of thunder. Hence, it is important to build a support system. Inform people close to you about your fear and how they can help you if you feel anxious.
You can also visit a therapist and try talk therapy. A therapist will also help you slowly get comfortable with your fear by desensitizing you to it. They will teach you how to manage your anxiety and overcome your fear of thunder.
For some adults, talking about this fear can be very uncomfortable. They feel others will not understand their worry and may even make fun of them. If you feel talking about this causes discomfort, you can opt for self-help courses offered by us. Our course DBT for Social Anxiety will teach you how to deal with the discomfort of talking about your fears in a social situation. It will also give you helpful tips to overcome your fear.