Hurricane Sandy: 7 Good Websites for Storm Info

Expect the best, prepare for the worst.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

The antidote for anxiety is action!

Now that we have stopped watching the fear-mongering hysterics on television we can get busy being useful. Let’s calmly walk, not run, to either prepare our homes to be a safe nest during the storm or evacuate to a temporary haven. Breathe deeply and be a leader for yourself and your family by exuding confidence and competence. And if you aren’t feeling it, fake it ’til you make it. Here are five websites with good, common sense tips to help us keep focused:

1. From the American Red Cross: Prepare Your Home and Family

2. A State-by-state Guide to Hurricane Sandy

3. Hurricane Preparedness Videos! 

4. How Pregnant Women, New Parents Can Prepare for a Hurricane

5. Urging Citizens to Prepare for Storm

6. ASPCA Urges Pet Owners to Plan Ahead

7. Town Issues Hurricane Tips

Once you’ve done everything you reasonably can, relax, get as cozy as you can wherever you are and enjoy that feeling of a job well done as the winds blow outside.

Frankenstorm? Really? How Hurricane Sandy “catastrophic” predictions cause undue anxiety

Two years ago my little family was driving toward New York City from our home upstate. Our intention was to help my son move into his freshman dorm at NYU. On the radio we heard newscasters and meteorologists warn about a giant hurricane, Irene, heading straight for Manhattan. It was going to cause wind damage, flooding, mayhem and disaster of epic proportions!

My son from the backseat was clearly anxious. He asked if we weren’t out of our minds heading INTO the path of the mega-storm instead of AWAY. My husband and I assured him that over the top weather predications rarely live up to their hype. In our experience the storms that really were disasters came without warning. The ones where we had days of dire predictions before the fact ended up being a well-within normal day.

Nonetheless we weren’t complete idiots, like those crazy-heads who decide hurricane warnings are synonymous with “Surf’s up!”  We knew the place we were headed in NYC was inland and uphill from the beaches and we had plenty of food and videos to while away the ‘batten-down-the hatches’ phase of the storm.

Result? Irene was a big ‘meh’ in our neck of the woods. Where she did cause damage no amount of anxiety building prior to what happened could have made it better.

Today Hurricane Sandy takes center stage and the predictions are wild! Even the news agencies are recognizing they may have stepped over the line in the hype. CNN has banned the neologism ‘Frankenstorm’ from use. At the Washington Post, opinion blogger Erik Wemple wrote a piece called “Hurricane Sandy: Five Tips For Avoiding Hype,” a great guide for reporters but also for us common folk who don’t need anything extra to worry about. We’ve got enough on our plates, thank you very much.

Instead of churning up anxiety by watching hysterical weather men on television, remember that British World War II sign that you see everywhere these days. Keep Calm and Carry On!

A good stock of flashlight batteries, canned soup and milk isn’t a bad idea either.

26 Acts of Intimacy – It’s All Foreplay

  1. Saying you’re sorry.
  2. Telling her she looks beautiful.
  3. Letting him know he smells good.
  4. Picking up milk on the way home.
  5. Calling to say you’ll be late.
  6. Saying thank you.
  7. Kissing goodbye.
  8. Kissing hello.
  9. Saying “You’re right.”
  10. Asking “How can I help?”
  11. Making or bringing in dinner if you aren’t the usual cook.
  12. Changing a diaper.
  13. Laughing together.
  14. Sharing the remote.
  15. Saying, “Poor baby.”
  16. Keeping promises.
  17. Touching without agenda.
  18. Keeping sober.
  19. Eye contact.
  20. Smiling.
  21. Smiling with eye contact.
  22. When thinking something nice saying it out loud.
  23. Saying, “Good morning!”
  24. Holding hands.
  25. Holding a door.
  26. Having a good, clean fight.

What gesture or random act of kindness or respect turns you on?

Photo courtesy of Healthzib via Flickr

If you have anxiety…


If you have anxiety the bad news is you will probably have it the rest of your life. The goods news is it’s treatable and manageable!

Ten Steps to Lower Anxiety and Find Empowerment!

Ten More Ways to Lower Anxiety

Seven Ways to Tame the Panic Attack Monster


“A ship in port is safe but that’s not what a ship is built for.” ~Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

A Stabilizing Influence: Elisha Goldstein’s Daily Now Moments

The last month has been one of turbulent transition. The move of my office to a bigger space is more settled now but ongoing. Mail not getting delivered, people not being able to find me, waiting for the Internet connection to work… The days are full of little crises that,  like paper cuts, sting like the dickens but won’t kill you. Yesterday I finally got a desk which is a vast improvement over the card table I was using, let me tell you! To save money I picked it up, delivered it to my office and assembled it myself. Not only do I have a nifty new writing table, I burned calories! But, boy I did not enjoy it at the time.

Then there’s the adjustment to a growth spurt on the business-side of running a practice that is greater than the sum of its parts. There’s a quote I read somewhere that goes something like this: “You work eight hours a day for someone else to get to the point where you can become your own boss so that you can work twelve hours a day.” It’s funny because it’s true.

Even “good” transitions come with stress. My daughter is applying to college, requiring trips to visit campuses, SAT prep, making sure all materials are where they need to be and imagining life as an empty nester.

Then there’s the usual stuff: elderly parents, medical issues, bills to pay. Nothing me, you and a million other people aren’t dealing with every single day. It seems like we are forever in transition.

Transitions can make us feel untethered, as if we have lost our anchor and are left adrift. It’s a pretty yucky, anxious feeling unless we give ourselves time to remember what anchors us.

One life-line that has helped me to surprisingly delightful effect is Elisha Goldstein’s Daily Now Moments. These micro-blasts of mindfulness come to me every day through my email. While there are those days when the note is kind of ‘meh’, there are those gems that make me think, how the heck did Elisha know I needed just that message just at this moment?

Here is one that arrived a few days ago. It turned up on my list of things I am grateful for:

What is one thing that you can do right now or today that is an act of loving yourself?

Here are seven ideas; treat this week as an experiment to put some of these to work and see what you notice:

1) Start your morning by thinking of five things you’re grateful for.

2) If possible, practice mindful eating for a few minutes in the morning, or mindfully drink your coffee or tea.

3) Practice a Mindful Check-In once or twice daily.

4) Take at least a 20-minute walk each day to care for your body.

5) Put your hands on your heart and wish yourself well: to be healthy and to be happy.

6) When things are tough, just acknowledge that it’s a hard moment and keep your critics at bay.

7) At night, look back on the day, forgive all the people you’re holding a grudge against, releasing that burden and having a better night’s sleep.


Elisha Goldstein, PhD

Simple yet effective! You can sign up for these Daily Now Moments at Dr. Goldstein’s website

Image courtesy of Kohtzy via Flickr


Today is World Mental Health Day!

Today is World Mental Health Day!

It is easy to dismiss treatment for mental health problems as a luxury. Even in my typically American middle-class community in Western New York, people have to make hard decisions about what gets attention. Will it be renovations to an aging house, tuition for college or psychotherapy?

There is a tendency to put our mental health struggles on the back burner with the hope that things will get better by themselves. When they don’t, even educated, so-called sophisticated people take it as a personal failure. That causes us even more pain, more isolation, deeper mental illness.

Take that scenario and make it global, across cultures, across socio-economic strata, across all levels of industrial development. The same issues that prevent my neighbor (or me for that matter) from getting mental health treatment may be what keeps a young man in Sri Lanka from seeking help.

Mental illness is not just a first world problem. The Secretary General of the United Nations wrote:

“Poverty, unemployment, conflict and war all adversely affect mental health. In addition, the chronic, disabling nature of mental disorders often places a debilitating financial burden on individuals and households. Furthermore, individuals with mental health problems – and their families – endure stigma, discrimination and victimization, depriving them of their political and civil rights and constraining their ability to participate in the public life of their societies.”

What can we do to change things? By being part of the solution:

1. Let’s look at our own lives. Prioritize your and your family’s mental health by educating yourself and seeking the advice of a good mental health professional.

2. Let’s pay attention to how we may carelessly support stigmatizing, discrimination and bullying of those with mental health struggles.

3. Let law makers know you advocate adoption and promotion of mental health policies, laws and services that support comprehensive education, employment, housing and social services for people with mental disorders.

“If someone has a broken arm, you feel sorry for them. But when (the problem) is psychiatric, people don’t know how to react because they can’t see anything.

But just because you can’t see someone’s pain, it doesn’t mean they don’t need your care and support.”

~Samoan woman with bipolar disorder, 29 years old, Auckland, New Zealand

A True Test of Mindfulness

I just spent an hour writing a brilliant essay (Really! It was brilliant!). Then I got distracted by a pretty, shiny object (“Oooo, pretty!”) and *Poof!* I lost it! Gone into the Ethernet! Arg!

This is a true test of mindfulness! There’s only one thing to do, OK maybe two.

Breathe deeply and eat ice cream.

Have you been tested lately? What happened? How did you get your mojo back? Please share your thoughts.

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