How to deal with wartime stress and confront negativity. Top tips from psychologists
Nothing compares to the stress that war brings to every person. We plunge into combat readiness: the psyche sets us up for survival, our fears become aggravated and mobilize the body. At the same time, this state exhausts us: we lose strength and faith in the best, especially with horrible news. And at this moment, you should stop and get a grip.
The cold mind is the first condition of successful war survival. The following tips will help you achieve this and keep you from panic and apathy.
Paradoxical as it may seem, you have to live it. It means that every day, you must remind yourself that life goes on and you are actually alive, no matter what happens. These several things make us feel like this.
Concentrate on your breath, especially when you’re feeling panicky or confused. You can also use popular techniques like square or count breathing.
Cover Basic Needs
Sleep, food and safety are the foundation of our survival. You can’t ignore the opportunity to get enough sleep or eat well just because you’re depressed.
Don’t also neglect the opportunity to go to a safe place even if you don't want to leave the property. Your body needs resources to protect yourself and stay alive.
Movement is life, and the more you move, the more resources and forces your body activates.
Any sports physical activity is the release of accumulated adrenaline, prevents cortisol stress, and stabilizes morale.
Your dull appearance, unkempt, dirty hair or shabby clothes won’t help the victims or those at the front. There are no reasons to forget about yourself, especially if you’re in a safe place.
Get back in the habit of grooming yourself, keep your clothes and body clean, and don’t neglect your style or small pleasures like perfume, skincare products and so on.
A well-established schedule of sleep and wakefulness will give you a sense of control over your life and protect the nervous system from shocks.
The same applies to the daily rituals: brushing your teeth, washing, and making morning coffee.
Art and Games
Unload the psyche from the load through games or the expression of emotions.
Choose what relaxes and inspires you the most: needlework, drawing, music, dancing. Whatever it is, it must fill your forces and inspire.
Caring for Loved Ones
Logically, when you are able to take care of yourself — you can take care of others. Whenever you hug someone, show care, take an interest in their well-being or condition, help someone — you regain a sense of life this way.
Moreover, caring for loved ones is your response and reaction to what is happening around you and helps from feelings of helplessness.
News content contributes significantly to our psychological state. In addition to being disturbing (given the current circumstances), we complicate our lives by over-consuming news.
Moreover, many people do doom scrolling: they plunge into this swamp of tragic news and drive themselves into depression.
Focus On Your Reality, Not the News
As a rule, you pay attention to the news that suits your mood. Each of us selects news content following our inner state.
For example, if you are cheerful, you will remember news with victories, breakthroughs and new successes at the front.
Suppressed morale, on the contrary, will force you to focus on the news with victims, destruction and threats.
Trust Official Sources Only
Enemy media is also alert to mislead or demoralize you with “terrible news” to catch up with panic and suppress the fighting spirit.
Therefore, draw news only from official government sources that have been tested for fakes and will give you objective data with proof and sources.
The official media will give instructions on what to do next, respond, and where to turn for help if there is really bad news and don’t aim to make you panic.
Don’t Believe Catchy Headlines
This principle is especially popular in the tabloid to attract maximum attention and evoke emotion.
So, headlines like “The decisive battle for the region will take place tomorrow” or “The general announced the end of the war by X date” are designed to make you focus on this news and feel maximum emotions about it.
This allows the government to manipulate and inspire certain people’s moods to encourage them for needed actions.
We are living in a special period, and we get unique experiences. It can awaken in us a variety of and sometimes irrational feelings. And if you want to control these emotions (not vice versa), avoid five main mistakes.
Wartime survival is a long run, not a short one. Challenging times are best overcome by those who:
Therefore, take care of your mental and physical health — the war is only a period of life, but not all of life.