By Susan Dunn, M.A., The EQ Coach
"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."
War is disturbing. Regardless of which "side" you're on, people are killing, people are being killed, and people are suffering. A recent poll in New York showed 47% for the war, 49% against. This may be mirrored in your own environment. We are deeply divided, which means half the people you encounter won't be agreeing with you, emotions are running high, and you may even be divided against yourself. Here are some tips for coping:
Acknowledge this is beyond your control. You can't solve the problems of the world; no one ever has. The only thing under your control is how you think about things, how you respond, what you do and say.
Limit your exposure. Keep up on the news, but sitting in front of the t.v. constantly for a blow-by-blow description isn't helpful. Distract yourself.
Find something you can do. Volunteer, help someone who's having a hard time coping or has a loved one serving on the front, reassure your child, maintain a happy disposition at work.
Be grateful. For things in your own life and life in general. Tulips coming up in your garden, a job, an A on your child's report card, someone gets a promotion, a new baby is born ...
Find ways to self-soothe. Draw upon your faith, get a massage, meditate, exercise, journal. Talk with a good listener, spend extra time with loved ones, maintain a healthy diet, stick to nurturing routines.
Remember you have a choice in discussions about the war. You can choose to engage or not, knowing that everyone who has an opinion thinks theirs will make the world better. End the discussion on a positive note. You can connect; you can't always convince, and do you need to? Value being in relationship over being "right".
Stay away from catastrophizing in your conversations, and in your mind. Words like "never" and "always" and "those people" are rarely true and usually not helpful. The truth is, we don't know what the outcome will be.
Seek help if you need it. Counselors and psychologists can help you deal with your reactions triggered by past events. Coaches can help you stay focused on moving ahead with plans and goals.
Start a new personal adventure. Take a course, start a new hobby, focus on a personal or professional development issue, lose weight, get in shape. The way we make the world better is one person at a time. This is a great time to forge ahead!
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