April is Stress Awareness month, but this year we don’t need a reminder. There’s plenty of fear and worry after this week’s bomb attacks on the Brussels airport and Maelbeek metro station. At least 30 people were killed and more than 200 injured.
Belgium has raised its terror alert and other European countries have increased their security measures. Terrorism abroad – London, Madrid, Paris – rekindles feelings of vulnerability in all of us. Around the clock media coverage with pictures of chaos and despair feels as if the whole world is having a stress reaction.
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost 15 years since 9/11. Islamic rage did not dissipate with the death of Osama bin Laden and, living in a more dangerous world, we’re feeling less safe in America. From Boston to Tennessee to California, we’ve been attacked.
We find ourselves mourning the loss of innocence. In her seminal grief book, On Death and Dying, Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross identified the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance. But none of these emotional stages can bring full relief because the reality is we don’t know when the next attack will occur.
There seems to be more chaos than order in the world. Life is unpredictable and it changes so fast. It makes sense to concentrate on real concerns like safety, jobs, finances, security, and family. But we can’t give in to fear and anxiety. Instead we must take a lesson from Brussels. With the courage of first responders and the spirit of the people, they all rallied to help – donating blood, rides, food and shelter.
While we cannot control the world, we can control how we live in it. Here are some ideas that can lead to positive first steps:
- Focus on hope and not despair.
- Learn to tolerate differences of opinion.
- Join together instead of being divided.
- Begin a collaborative search for meaning.
Being optimistic will make you feel more confident and resilient, even thrive – and reading these articles can help. For more guidance and support, CLICK HERE. Then scroll down the page and leave your email address to receive a free monthly newsletter, “Stepping Stones” and download complimentary ebooks about how to reduce stress and reach your goals.