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Doctors suggest preparing as best you can for bad weather to minimize your storm anxiety

Storm anxiety
Posted at 4:22 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 20:32:07-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's not uncommon to feel anxious when there is severe weather in the forecast, but there is a way to empower yourself and that’s through preparation.

"Weather is unpredictable. Even though we know a big storm is coming, we may only have so many options for safety at a given moment," said Dr. Katie Spencer.

Dr. Spencer is a psychologist at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. If the aftermath of a past storm has you worried, she says prepare now so you have the safest experience during the next storm.

"Having that plan, we can turn those thoughts on immediately and then we can better respond usually in a calmer way," Dr. Spencer said.

According to the National Weather Service, thinking about where you will take shelter, making sure you have several ways to get weather warnings and information, and having a plan for you and your family can help reduce your fear and stress levels when storms are in the area.

You may also want to create an emergency health information sheet for every member of your family. According to the Mayo Clinic, it's critical that medical service providers have access to health information for anyone in an emergency situation.

In the end, storm anxiety is likely affecting more people than you think.

"I think it's really important to validate your own feelings. You're the only person that's always going to be there for yourself. We certainly want our spouse to validate us or our family members, but they may have a totally different reaction than us," Dr. Spencer said.

If you have an intense reaction to severe weather — like difficulty breathing or panic attacks — contact your primary care doctor.