I survived Hurricane Irma unscathed. I was one of lucky ones. So many others had extensive damage and even health problems from the heat. With temperatures in the high 80s and high humidity the heat in South Florida is unbearable, especially with no air conditioning. I have gone through it over 10 years ago when we were hit by several storms in one year. I know all of those without power are feeling quite miserable.
With a strong hurricane coming we faced many possible dangers from loss of property to flooding to loss of life. But we faced an even greater but invisible danger. Fear.
The fear of the unknown is very real and some of the possible outcomes were genuine concerns. But if we stay in a constant state of fear we not only overreact or even worse make bad decisions but we also cause ourselves to get sick.
Worry and anxiety for prolonged periods are not good for our health.
According to WebMD:
“Worrying is feeling uneasy or being overly concerned about a situation or problem. With excessive worrying, your mind and body go into overdrive as you constantly focus on “what might happen.””
“When worries and anxiety become excessive, chances are you’ll trigger the stress response.”
Most of us refer to the stress response as “fight or flight”. This is a normal response to perceived danger but if this state is repeatedly triggered by excessive anxiety and worry. This can cause problems such as dizziness, fast heart beat, fatigue, irritability, nervous energy and shortness of breath. The last two are all I need.
A lot of us were worried and stressed before and during the hurricane. Some were still worried after the storm not knowing how family and friends were doing. I certainly was worried before the storm and during the time that we felt the peak.
I was checking the news several times a day leading up to the hurricane. It was so uncertain I was looking for them to have a better idea of when and where. They never did until it happened. I definitely felt my stress and anxiety rising. Constant uncertainty and warnings of how bad it was going to be was driving me crazy.
It was good that they were telling people to be prepared but after awhile it creates fear way beyond causing people to realize that they needed to take it seriously. Then during the storm if we tuned into get an update we had to sit through half an hour of pictures of the places that got hit the worst.
I think it is important that we have moderation in these situations. Turn off the news and focus on something else. At my house, we had a movie marathon. Watching constant coverage and worrying about it wasn’t going to change the outcome one bit. If I can’t change it why make myself sick over it. The only thing I could do was put my trust in God and distract myself.
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? – Luke 12:22-26
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7