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Thread: Anxious America: Dealing with War Anxiety/Anxious America: Dealing with Terrorism Anxiety

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    Anxious America: Dealing with War Anxiety/Anxious America: Dealing with Terrorism Anxiety

    Anxious America: Dealing with War Anxiety
    Library: MED
    Keywords: WAR STRESS ANXIETY BALANCE MI
    Description: It's everywhere you turn -- talk of the war with Iraq, images of American troops in battle. A University of Michigan Health System expert offers suggestions for dealing with the tremendous anxiety war creates -- even for those of us watching from afar.



    Note: In uncertain times, we may be faced with some issues we have not faced before as a country, as families and as individuals. As a public service, the University of Michigan Health System is offering this package, which discusses the psychological effects of war and terrorism, to help your viewers or readers cope with the difficult days ahead.

    March 3, 2003

    Contact:
    Andi McDonnell, andreakm@umich.edu
    Krista Hopson, khopson@umich.edu
    (734) 764-2220

    For immediate release

    Anxious America: dealing with war anxiety

    A U-M expert offers advice for coping with the difficult days ahead

    Video Available

    ANN ARBOR, MI -- It's everywhere you turn -- talk of the war with Iraq, images of American troops in battle. A University of Michigan Health System expert offers suggestions for dealing with the tremendous anxiety war creates -- even for those of us watching from afar.

    "In times of war, we often find ourselves having real difficulty concentrating on the day-to-day life we have to lead, on family and work responsibilities," says Joseph Himle, PhD, associate director, Anxiety Disorders Program, Department of Psychiatry at UMHS. "We might find our sleep is impaired, and the general sorts of worry that we're relatively accustomed to, such as health or financial concerns, are elevated even further."

    Himle says these worries can be manifested in physical symptoms such as a rapid heart beat, shakiness, shortness of breath or sweatiness. He recommends calling upon methods of stress management that have worked for an individual in the past; exercise, social activities, family support and hobbies all offer ways to temper fear and anxiety.

    While many Americans are trying to come to grips with the "new normal" -- living in a world that's not as safe as we once thought, Himle says it is possible to feel some sense of control.

    "In our day-to-day life, there are typically pockets of safety -- safety within your family, safety in your home, safety in your community. Paying attention to the many aspects of daily life that are really quite safe helps us buffer the belief that there's just no safety left anymore," he continues.

    Alternatively, paying too much attention to the flood of war coverage can be counterproductive. "I think it makes sense for us to be informed, but it's not useful to monitor the television, radio or internet all day long. It's safe to say that we can count on our friends or typical exposure to media to let us know when something really important has happened," Himle says.

    Another way to help yourself is to help others. History tells us that it's very therapeutic to contribute time or resources to help those who are active in the war effort or those who have been impacted by it. "We saw it after 9/11, we've seen it in previous wars; sending a note or volunteering some extra time can often be very helpful to both the giver and the recipient in these challenging times," says Himle.

    For those who are feeling anxious because they oppose the war with Iraq, Himle suggests seeking social support from those who have similar beliefs.

    Individuals with loved ones serving in the military are particularly impacted by war. Worries over their safety can be all-consuming. Himle suggests some time-honored ways of keeping their anxiety in check, including letter writing and a strong support system. "Talking about your fears with others experiencing the same thing is an invaluable way to keep some of that natural stress under control," Himle says.

    He also advises that, while hate toward our enemies is a normal human emotion, we should not let it consume us. "Hate can really interfere with the sorts of things that we all need to do to support those who are putting their lives on the line for us," explains Himle. Spiritual outlets are often helpful in dealing with these very powerful emotions, he says.

    Tips for dealing with war anxiety:

    -Make time for tried-and-true stress management techniques such as regular exercise, social outings, family support, favorite pastimes or spiritual services, to name a few.
    -Control what you can -- take steps to make sure you feel safe in your home and community.
    -Stay informed, but tune out the constant news coverage.
    -Contribute your time and resources as you feel is appropriate.
    -Deal with strong emotions, such as hate or fear, before they become crippling.

    For more information, visit the following web sites:

    Health Topics A to Z: Understanding Stress
    http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/primry/life11.htm

    Health topics A to Z: Anxiety
    http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/aha/aha_anxiety_crs.htm

    American Psychological Association: The Different Kinds of Stress
    http://www.helping.apa.org/work/stress4.html

    Written by Maria White

    ###

  2. #2
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    Anxious America: Dealing with Terrorism Anxiety

    Anxious America: Dealing with Terrorism Anxiety
    Library: MED
    Keywords: TERRORISM ANXIETY STRESS BALANCE MI
    Description: When the Department of Homeland Security raises the threat level on the advisory system, the nation's anxiety level follows. Many Americans are struggling with tough questions: What does this mean for my family? How safe are we? What should we be doing to prepare?



    Note: In uncertain times, we may be faced with some issues we have not faced before as a country, as families and as individuals. As a public service, the University of Michigan Health System is offering this package, which discusses the psychological effects of war and terrorism, to help your viewers or readers cope with the difficult days ahead.


    March 3, 2003

    Contact:
    Andi McDonnell, andreakm@umich.edu
    Krista Hopson, khopson@umich.edu
    (734) 764-2220

    For immediate release

    Anxious America: dealing with terrorism anxiety

    A U-M expert offers common-sense advice for Americans living on the front lines of the war on terrorism

    ANN ARBOR, MI -- When the U.S. Department of Homeland Security raises the threat level on the advisory system up a notch, the nation's anxiety level follows suit. These days, many Americans are struggling with some tough questions: What does this mean for my family and me? How safe are we? What should we be doing to prepare?

    Unfortunately, many of the questions now facing us have no clear-cut answers. To help ease the anxiety many Americans are feeling over being on the front lines of the war on terrorism, a University of Michigan Health System expert offers some common-sense advice.

    "The government alert system represents something that we're not familiar with, and when we have something that's both unfamiliar and threatening, that's a good recipe for stress, anxiety, difficulty sleeping and all that goes along with just being worried," explains Joseph Himle, PhD., associate director, Anxiety Disorders Program, Department of Psychiatry at UMHS.

    "Many of the sort of stressors we're accustomed to we have some degree of control over -- we can drive more carefully, we can stay out of a dark alley, we can stop smoking," says Himle. "In this case, it's harder for us to control the threat we face from terrorism."

    Normally people go about their usual routine to help manage everyday stress and anxiety. Work and fun, rest and relaxation all help keep our lives in balance. "What can happen during times like these is that we cut back on many of the things we use to balance our lives, to help control our stress. We may spend less time with others, we cut back on our exercise, we don't do as many things for fun -- we cut back at the very time we need these activities the most," Himle says.

    In addition to maintaining a healthy balance in your life, Himle is a strong believer in using your body's natural instincts to notice when things aren't quite right. "However, people who try to keep too high a level of vigilance will find themselves more fatigued and anxious, and often less able to respond to a real threat," he says.

    "I think that if you actually decide to hole up in a center room of your house and duct tape the windows, you'll likely end up more stressed than if you just went about your business and trusted your instincts to tell you when to act."

    That's not to say you shouldn't have some duct tape (among other items) on hand as the Department of Homeland Security recommends. In fact the motto on their web site for the public, www.ready.gov, urges "Don't be afraid· be prepared."

    Preparation does seem to help ease anxiety. "Thinking ahead and preparing often makes us feel more comfortable about the risks that we may encounter," says Himle. "If it's done within reason, it probably makes sense for most people to do something that they feel prepares them for trouble, even though they may never need to use it."

    Himle also advises anxious citizens to be selective about the information they're exposed to on a daily basis. "A constant stream of information from the television, radio or internet is not necessary and probably causes much more harm than good," he says.

    Tips for dealing with terrorism anxiety:

    - Continue normal everyday activities to maintain balance in your life.
    - Add stress-reducing activities such as slow-paced breathing, yoga or other forms of relaxation therapy.
    - Trust your instincts to tell you when something or someone seems suspicious.
    - Don't overreact to perceived threats of terrorism by taking radical steps to protect yourself.
    - Do take time to prepare for an emergency.
    - Be informed, but try to avoid information overload.


    For more information, visit the following web sites:

    Health Topics A to Z: Understanding Stress
    http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/primry/life11.htm

    Health Topics A to Z: Anxiety
    http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/aha/aha_anxiety_crs.htm

    American Psychological Association: Different kinds of stress
    http://www.helping.apa.org/work/stress4.html

    Department of Homeland Security
    http://www.dhs.gov

    Department of Homeland Security
    http://www.ready.gov


    Written by Maria White

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