Health

War news overdose? How to decrease anxiety in unsettling times

DALLAS (NNPA) With our nation and allies now at war, there is an added element of concern in our daily lives. Whether you have loved ones deployed in the Middle East (as I do) or fret over the possibilities of terrorism at home,… DALLAS (NNPA) With our nation and allies now at war, there is an added element of concern in our daily lives. Whether you have loved ones deployed in the Middle East (as I do) or fret over the possibilities of terrorism at home, it can be easy to become stressed about more than just the daily challenges of personal and professional life. Here is some advice for decreasing your anxiety level during these unsettling times:

1. Don’t overdose on news. With multiple 24-hour news channels and breaking news coverage of the war, it can be easy to feel bombarded and overwhelmed. Stay abreast of what is going on, but resist the urge to watch continuously. Doing so can increase anxiety and stress levels.

2. Pray daily. Prayer really does change things. It does not always change the circumstances, but it can certainly change your perspective on the circumstances. And that can make all of the difference in the world. Consider these scriptures for prayer and meditation: Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” and Psalm 91:5 “You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noon day.” Prayer calms you and centers you. Regardless of your opinion on the war, be sure to pray for the safety of our troops and minimizing the number of the innocent lives that may be lost in the cross fire.

3. Talk about it. If you are feeling anxious, share your feelings with those you trust. Talking about it can help relieve some of the stress you feel and help you see that you are not alone in the way you feel.

4. Make “de-stressing” a priority. Whether it’s a funny movie, fun with friends or your favorite past-time, make sure that you engage in activities that help you de-stress. Make this a priority by scheduling time on a weekly basis to do something that makes you smile. In stressful times, it is more important than ever to find time to laugh and have fun. It strengthens your mental and emotional health.

5. Take positive action. What could you do to make a difference? One small gesture can help you feel more in control of your immediate circumstances. Perhaps it is your dedication to writing letters or e-mails to a loved one or friend who is deployed in the Middle East, or offering moral support to the family they left behind. Perhaps it is a commitment to learn more about the origins of this conflict so that you are educated about the topic. Or maybe it is simply a commitment to respecting the opposing opinions of others on the issue of war. We all hold different perspectives, but allowing the war to be a source of division among us would be unfortunate.

Take positive action, and use this as an opportunity to embrace tolerance and acceptance.

Valorie Burton is author of “Rich Minds, Rich Rewards: 52 Ways to Enhance, Enrich and Empower Your Life,” and hosts the website, www.ValorieBurton.com.

April 14, 2003
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