Since superstorm Sandy tore across the east coast, residents of New York and New Jersey have been struggling to get back on their feet. Communities that were impacted came together to cope, bringing out the best in each other. Those who were more fortunate provided food, showers and cell phone power to those left homeless.
But the devastation is widespread and recovery will take a very long time. The total damage could run as high as $50 billion, making it one of the most costly storms in U.S. history.
Natural disasters are reminders of our vulnerability to unpredictable forces of nature. And when they occur, it’s difficult for survivors to find comfort. Although a limited amount of stress can motivate us, severe anxiety has a major impact on our lives. If you’re struggling to find positive meaning after a crisis, here are a couple of ideas that may help you restore balance:
Take control of what you can. Try to make what you can manage a priority and begin there. You don’t have to do it all alone – ask for help whenever you need it. Bring routine back into your life, both at work and with your family. And find support through friends, your faith, a therapist or a spiritual community.
Minimize your negative feelings. While you can’t change the forces of nature, you can change how you handle it. Face uncertainty with a positive attitude and reframe pessimistic reactions into neutral ones. Constructive responses will give you more access to resources as you begin to feel hope for a better future.
On Friday $23 million was raised in a celebrity benefit, and many who had traveled to New York for the marathon took a run and volunteered on Sunday. In any crisis, responding with supplies and donations will put you in contact with others who care and counteract the helplessness you may feel. And please log on again on Thursday for more practical tips about how to find personal strength in disaster.