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Get Through Any Disaster – What You Need To Know: Coping With The Stress

Updated on February 26, 2009

A disaster does not only cause physical damage to your property, but it can also cause invisible injury to you and your family. Coping with the stress, fear and anxiety which accompanies a disaster can be just as crippling as a major injury. There are some steps that you can take to help you cope with the effects of a disaster:

  • Understand that it will take time to restore things to some semblance of order. As long as you're alive, you have hope. Remember, this too shall pass.
  • Be very patient with yourself and with the people around you. Don't rush to judgement or action.
  • Be flexible and considerate of others, keeping in mind that other people may have a diametrically opposite viewpoint of what should be done and how it should be done. They are entitled to their opinions as much as you are. Try to compromise whenever possible.
  • Keep your eye on the big picture and don't get into a situation where you can't see the forest for the trees. Don't get swamped by the tiny details.
  • Don't neglect proper nutrition or hydration. Don't skip meals and don't even think of cutting down to save your waistline. There will be plenty of time to diet when this is over. You need to eat and eat well, as you are not completely sure when your next meal will be.
  • Remember that your main priority is to get out of this with your loved ones intact and happy. If you need help in finding that all important inner strength to go on with what might seem to be an intolerable situation, talk to friends, family, authorities or the clergy. Should all of these people not be available (or in worse shape than you are) make sure that you have a copy of any holy book that you believe in, or a self-empowerment and self confidence boosting book.
  • When you are dealing with other people who have gone through the disaster and aren't coping as well as you, realize that it is completely natural for them to be depressed, anxious, angry, sad, or incredulous. Furthermore, their emotions may be swinging wildly, where they will be calm and tranquil one moment, and completely desperate or hysterical the next.

Try to avoid falling into bad habits. This can include chain smoking, drinking, overeating, violence, or even drugs. Keep a level head. Remember some of Rudyard Kipling's most important and relevant rhymes:

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;

If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

And yes, yours will be the Earth, as there are precious few people in a disaster setting which can exercise that level of self control.

Continued In Get Through Any Disaster – What You Need To Know: Helping Kids Cope With Fear

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