Anxiety Building Over Worst Storm in History in NYC

I am originally from NY. If you know me you can tell by my accent!  This morning I checked in with family that still lives there.  I have family on Long Island and in the city. My family tells me they have been ordered to evacuate. They are retrieving the grandmas and figuring out where to go. The last time NY braced for a storm like this was 5o years ago!

Naturally, my family is anxious and so am I and many others worrying about family and friends who live in the hurricane areas.

Here’s something you can do to calm your anxiety whether you’re in the hurricane area or not. First take a deep cleansing breath and blow it out. Do it 3 times and feel the oxygen going to your brain. There’s a physiological explanation but for now it just feels better. Do it whenever you feel the anxiety building.

Taking out a pen and paper is helpful in all anxiety provoking events. You can journal your worries, you can write a letter to someone who you are worried about. If you’re an artist, you can draw your worries either realistically or symbolically. Getting organized is always calming. Make a list of things you must do to get ready for the storm, in order of priority and keep knocking off the items one at a time. Keeping busy can be helpful.

If you find that you are too anxious to engage in any normal activities then it might be best to find some comfy place to sit or lie down. You can gently stretch, do some yoga moves, or try imaging yourself in a safe place. Somewhere that makes you feel really good just to be there. Notice the sights and sounds, the smells, who is there with you, if anyone, what  you are doing, what you are wearing, etc. Try playing some music that is soothing.

Or try some muscle relaxation, one body part at a time. Tighten and relax and repeat until you go thru all the parts of your body all the while saying relax… to your self. Make sure you’re continuing to breathe.

Of course calling a supportive friend or family member is always a good way to share feelings and get support. Working on a fun or creative project is good medicine for anxiety.

I’m hoping that the storm turns out to be a lot of hype as the media loves to keep our attention. But for now, the danger is looming. My sister-in-law said it looks so weird with everything shut down and evacuated. It looks like a movie! I can just imagine having seen many movies like that.

Anticipatory anxiety is one of the more common anxiety disorders. Most of the time when the anticipated event arrives things go well.  It’s more about the worry and build up we give it in expectation. We cannot control the future so trying to live more in the moment would be something to work towards.

Here’s hoping the hurricane loses steam before it hits New York or anywhere else for that matter!

If you are worried about a friend or a loved one feel free to email me at

Want help dealing with anxiety? (anticipatory, generalized, specific phobia, social phobia)?

About Ilissa Banhazl

Ilissa Banhazl is a licensed marriage and family psychotherapist, former grade school teacher and holds a masters degree in reading. She has a private practice in Glendora, CA and lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and three children. She specializes in adult, adolescent, individual, couple, and family relationship counseling as well as eating disorder treatment and recovery. She facilitates a Women’s Support Group in Glendora as well as a Women’s Disordered Eating & Body Image Group. Ilissa authors 3 therapy blogs, Marriage and Family, Eating Disorders and Group Therapy. You can follow her at FB and Twitter. or
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