How to cope with storm anxiety from local experts

There's no doubt being in tornado alley is scary this time of year and, on the sixth anniversary of the May 20, 2013 tornadoes, many Oklahomans are on edge.

"They ruminate on it, and it exacerbates their anxiety but we have to face the reality that, yes, those tornadoes are there and there's lot of things we can do to protect ourselves,” said Psychiatrist Art Rousseau, M.D.

Rousseau recommends being around people on severe storm days, having your weather plan ready and being informed by what is anticipated.

"I like to remind people that anxiety is a normal emotion. We all need to have it because it means something is wrong, something needs to be paid attention to," he said.

Nonprofit SRT started in Oklahoma after the 1995 Murrah Federal Building bombing to help citizens prepare for a disaster situation. They recommend the following:

  • eating healthy
  • exercising
  • taking time to do activities you enjoy
  • getting enough sleep

And, for our little ones, there's an app called 'Help Kids Cope.' They recommend explaining the science of a tornado, making a plan on where to go and have them practice the plan.

"The key here is to take care of one’s self, to be aware of what you're own feelings are. Relaxation techniques can certainly help,” Rousseau said.

For those diagnosed with PTSD from being in a tornado, Rousseau said to take your prescribed medication and reach out to a professional.

For more resources, click here.

You can find the app 'Help Kids Cope' by clicking here.

For the Disaster Distress Helpline, call 1-800-985-5990 or text TALKWITHUS to 66746.

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