For many of us, the weather is leaving us feeling a little on edge or unsettled today. Strong winds and driving rain are causing difficult driving conditions and creating hazards as bins are blown about and trees are losing branches. It can be worrying and most of us are taking extra precautions or warning others to be careful on the roads, etc.
But for some, the feeling of anxiety and dread, due to the change in weather, is more severe. For those suffering from Ancraophobia (fear of wind), today is an especially difficult one.
More than feeling a little worried or concerned by the effects of the weather, those suffering with the condition may experience panic-like symptoms: a feeling of dread or anxiety resulting in physiological effects such as increased or irregular heartbeat, shortness or rapidity of breath, nausea, shaking, dry mouth and an inability to articulate words or sentences.
But there are treatments available. Whilst some chose medication to alleviate their anxiety, this may only reduce the symptoms and not address the underlying issue. Therapies such as hypnotherapy or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy are considered effective for many sufferers.
In the meantime, there are things that you can do to feel calmer, or to help a sufferer you may be with. *Please bear in mind that these are relaxation techniques, rather than a direct management of the phobia itself.*
Acknowledge and accept. It is important to recognise that the feeling is anxiety and that it is okay to feel anxious: it is our brain and body’s way of keeping us safe. The problem is, we don’t want it to become overwhelming, or stop us from functioning.
Breathing By slowing and regulating our breathing, we in turn slow and regulate our heartbeat and reduce the physiological symptoms of stress. Place your hand on your tummy so that you can feel your breathing. Close your mouth and breathe through your nose. With every breath in, notice your tummy rise, and with every breath out, it should fall. Breathe in slowly 10 times.
Self-talk Tell yourself that it will be okay. That you are strong and can manage this. The wind will die down, and so will your anxiety. It may feel a little odd talking to yourself, but the self-talk will replace the worried thoughts in your mind.
Distraction Find yourself something to do. Go and be with a friend and have coffee; focus on a task you have been putting off (clear out the wardrobe!). Focus your thoughts and energy on something other than the wind and your fear. The more you focus on the anxiety, the greater it is likely to grow.
For most of us, the storm will blow over, and we will relax. For others, it is but a short reprieve until the wind begins to pick up again. If you are with someone who is finding it hard today, don't belittle or dismiss their worries; try and help them ride out the storm.
For more about how relaxation can help you, please do get in touch.
The following links provide more information about phobias, anxiety and seeking help: