Psychologically Prepare for a Disaster
Across the Flow regions, Australia is currently in peak natural disaster season - with the potential threat of bushfires, cyclones and even floods on the horizon.
People are always told to prepare for a disaster situation, whether it be having a bushfire plan in place, or allocating a safe spot to protect belongings - but what about preparing ourselves psychologically?
Research shows that people faced with impending disaster can become paralysed by anxiety and stress which may stop them carrying out their disaster plans, but mental preparation can help to overcome these reactions.
Dr Susie Burke from the Australian Psychological Society joined Anita on the Country Viewpoint for more information.
The three main steps to being psychologically prepared are thinking through:
what it might be like as disaster approaches, the anxiety you may feel and the physical signs of fear and distress (racing heart, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, headaches).
thoughts and feelings that may cause further anxiety (I can’t cope, I’m so afraid, I don’t know what to do).
responses so that the ability to cope remains as effective as possible (slow down your breathing, replace frightening thoughts with more helpful ones – “Relax” “I can cope”, “I have a plan”).
According to the Society, in the aftermath of a natural disaster people will feel traumatised, but most will be able to cope given the right mental and emotional help.
To find out more about the preparation and recovery process of a disaster, visit: psychology.org.au/topic/disasters/.