Storms and lightning can cause fear of storms in some people. They may panic during a storm. So they might hide somewhere they feel safe or avoid situations where there are chances of storm. For example they may fear going to camps or hill stations. This article will teach you how to stay calm during a thunderstorm.
A phobia is a baseless fear of something that do not often harms you. When a person comes in contact with an object that he or she is afraid of then it causes extreme fear. They often adapt their life to avoid situations that they perceive to be fearful.
Astraphobia is the fear of thunder and lightning during a storm. Storm anxiety is other name for it. Although the fear is more common in children but it can continue in adults. It is also common in animals. Kids who have it are afraid of storms and scream during it. While adults are actively checking the weather reports so that they can take precautions.
Who Is at Risk for Storm Anxiety?
It is more common in children. People who have sensory problems or have autism spectrum disorder are more likely to get it. You are more likely to have storm anxiety if
- If you have a relative with mental health problem such as depression, anxiety or phobia.
- If you have survived a natural weather calamity.
Signs of Storm Anxiety
Fear is the basis of phobias. People who have it are aware that their fear is excessive in contrast to the actual harm posed by a storm. But they struggle to control their symptoms. Following signs can be seen such people with storm anxiety.
- Extreme fear
- Faintness or dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart beat
How to Stay Calm during a Thunderstorm?
For some people thunderstorms are a frightening experience. It is scary and difficult for them to stay calm during a thunderstorm as bright lightning, loud thunder, pouring rain, and strong winds blow. Storm anxiety involve nearly every sense we have that is sight, smell, sound, and even touch. It sends out body into “fight or flight” mode which is activated in life threatening situations. The mental, breathing, and heart functions are all alerted by the brain to be ready for quick actions. While the heart and breathing rate increases to supply blood and oxygen to body as the adrenaline boosts energy. So they might also have a panic attack.
Here are some of the tips on how to stay calm during a thunderstorm.
1. Make a Storm Preparedness Plan
You can prepare yourself to face your fear so that you can feel less anxiety. A storm preparedness plan can help you to stay calm during a thunderstorm.
- Have a plan for weather emergencies that everyone knows about. Such as go to a safe place inside home, have helpline number or have batteries for power cut. Because storms are linked to a fear of darkness, so always keep a flashlight nearby.
- Find a relaxing place in the home to go during storms. Locate a place away from windows and from the sights and sounds of storm is generally helpful. In the case of kids, they can be comforted by spending a quality time with parents.
2. Deep Breathing
You can use your breath to stay calm during a thunderstorm and let the storm to pass even if stormy feelings swirl around you.
Begin deep breathing at the first sign of storm anxiety. You can use deep breathing to reduce your heart rate and blood pressure even if you are in the middle of a stressful situation. Slowly inhale the air and fill up you lungs with air. Hold for 3 seconds. Then slowly exhale. You can also say coping statement along with it such as I am in control of myself or I am calm.
3. Drink Water
Drinking water will help you to reduce signs of anxiety. It will help you to relax and breathe normally.
4. Talk to a Friend or Family
It is really helpful to connect with people for support and to share your experience so that you do not feel alone during stressful times. Talk someone close and tell them about what you like about storms and what you fear of storms. Sharing your feelings with someone close will allow you to think more realistically and stay calm during a thunderstorm. While your friend can also help you to cope with fears related to stormy weather.
5. Fun Activities
- Find your flow to stay calm during a thunderstorm. It will help you distract from the fear of storm while allow you to focus on fun activity and be productive at the same time. For example you can do something that you find relaxing such as painting, listening to music or bathing.
- Make a “storm fun kit” that you only use during storms. Markers, puzzles, battery operated games, and snacks are all good ideas.
- Think about creating a “storm game”. In which you earn points each time you hear thunder and you do not scream.
By these fun activities you can link some positive emotions to experience of storm. Hence it will reduce storm anxiety and help to stay calm during a thunderstorm.
6. Limit Weather News
Storms can be regularly discussed on television and in the news. Limit your exposure to media coverage in order to avoid undue fear over the storm. It will help you to stay calm during a thunderstorm.
7. Relaxation Exercise
The relaxation reaction is the natural stress reliever of body. It will make you feel better and calmed. Practice relaxation exercises when you are in a stressful situation to relax and calm yourself. When storm anxiety is triggered, meditation can help you find a calm spot within yourself to relax.
Practicing relaxation exercises such as meditation, autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, or any activity that you find relaxing can help you to stay calm during a thunderstorm.
Call to Action
Storms are a natural part of life and there is nothing we can do to stop them. For some people this might be stressful as they think that they are not in control. You can not control the weather and storms however you can control your storm anxiety and try to stay calm during thunderstorm. Knowing that storm anxiety causes you to feel scared and anxious you can learn more about “feeling scared, frightened and helpless” on Epsychonline to get more information about fears and how to cope with it.
Fears are activated due to irrational thinking. Learn about the thinking traps on Epsychonline so that you can identify and change your faulty thinking which can help you to stay calm during a thunderstorm.