It seems that the news is filled with information regarding natural disasters. Two major hurricanes and earthquakes in Mexico. We are inundated with photos and videos of suffering and survival.
As a resident of southwest Florida I chose to stay in my home throughout the Hurricane Irma experience. I made my decision to stay based on information I had about my home and location. It was uncomfortable but not frightening or threatening. I have compassion for those who were not as lucky as me.
Now as life begins to settle into a new normal I am struck by the news of how many people suffered as a result of their fear of Irma not from any actual problems resulting from the hurricane. I heard one story of a person who was so terrified of the storm that they fled the state without much preparation and without a plan for self care. They ended up hospitalized with panic attacks. Another story of a person who ended up very ill due to stress, lack of sleep and poor nutrition. Our fears can be fueled by media and people who are attempting to express concern. It is important to take time, now that life is settling down, to develop coping mechanisms to lower our stress levels so that we can take in information and make wise decisions based on information, not fear.