If you live anywhere in the southeast United States, the recent hurricane season activity has been hard to miss. Nearly every news outlet has been covering the storms that have just passed, and the ones out in the ocean yet to come. Social media is flooded with people worrying about whether they need to evacuate, buy more supplies, or hunker down for the duration. People everywhere are nervously awaiting the storm’s arrival, stressing about the damage it might cause, and panicking about what to do next, days before the storm is expected to make landfall on the mainland. The stormy weather seems to be causing quite a bit of stress, anxiety and headache…and it hasn’t even hit us yet. For some of us, it will affect us very little or not at all, but that hasn’t stopped the outpouring of hand wringing and overthinking about what could happen, to say nothing of the shortage of water, gas, and other needs from the southern tip of Florida well into the Gulf Coast of Alabama.
I know what you’re thinking…and yes, it’s good to have a healthy respect for mother nature and the damage that may be inflicted in the path of the storms. It’s wise to prepare, to have a plan, and have supplies. It’s smart to protect your home and your belongings, even if you’re merely in a projected path of possibility.
But the anxiety, stress, panic, and suffering about the storm that has yet to make landfall here? That is the part that is unnecessary. We all know the storm is going to land somewhere, this is true. We know that there will likely be some damage that happens as a result, unfortunately. But what good does it do to experience emotional upset about it before it even happens? Moreover, what harm does it do to you to suffer needlessly about things that have yet to come true?
Funnily enough, we humans do this all the time, and not just with hurricanes. We think and project and stress and worry about things that haven’t happened yet, and attribute that stress to the thing looming over the ocean or out in our future. Knowing how weather works can help allay those fears: when you know that wind and rain and storms happen in the sky and then move on, you know you don’t have to fear it and lose hours to stress and anxiety. Our anguish about the mental clouds on the horizon can be lessened if we understand that clouds will come and go, and no amount of stressful, anxious thinking is going to stop them. On top of that, the stressful, anxious thinking we have about the future can actually be causing us physical and emotional harm right now!
I read a fiction book once about the continual fires of San Francisco, and a character said, “Get ready for the maybe…then forget it.” This line always stuck with me as such a practical way to go about life, because we certainly should be prepared for things as we see fit. We should gather storm supplies, and have a plan of action for the clouds looming on the horizon. And then,“forget it”. Be in this moment, rather than suffering in an imaginary future moment that hasn’t happened yet. Then when the storm clouds finally do roll in, you’ll not only be physically prepared to meet it, you’ll be emotionally ready as well.
Today’s blog post was written by a long time Gulf Coast resident who has lived through several major storms, in case perspective is important here. For a list of hurricane readiness tips, please visit https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes. If your storm clouds are more personal in nature and involve addiction, give our own personal weather man a call to find out if our program may be the right fit for you. We always have umbrellas standing by. Call Reed at 800-556-2966.