Sunday, April 21, 2013

Conquering The Stress And Fear Of Terrorism

I remember when I consciously made the choice to not allow the intended outcome of a terrorist attack to occupy my space.

It was 10:30 PM, September 11, 2001.  The window in my kitchen slid down a little bit, on its own; like it always did. Usually this is something that would simply catch my attention, maybe startle me a little, and I would continue on with whatever I was doing.

On this day, though, it frightened me to my core.  The kind of frightened you feel when you think someone has broken into your house.  I stopped breathing and for a moment, I was afraid to even move.

I burst into tears; angry tears.  Then, emphatically, firmly and without hesitation, I spoke to the intended potential that was hovering in my space.

"Not here!  Not in my home!  You have not succeeded here today and never will!"

In that moment, a resiliency empowered me that led to my studying terrorism to finish my degree; so I would be in control, not terrorism.

After the heightened emotion of this last week, this day occupied my mind for a bit and I made sure to consciously stay aware of everything I do to counteract the potential, emotional impact of terrorism.

My Five Tips For Conquering The Stress And Fear Of Terrorism

Don't allow terrorism to dictate what occupies your mind...

1. Stay Away From the Television.  When Ken came home and told me about the bombing, we turned on the T.V. and watched the news until they started repeating themselves.  Then, we turned it off because we knew it was too early for anyone to have any more facts.  Hearing the same thing over and over will do nothing but increase your anxiety.

2.  Stay Informed Via Other Sources.  Check the headlines on Yahoo and read stories that are non-sensationalized updates.  Listen to NPR.  Get updates from reliable friends and family.  I kept up with the events on Friday via NPR in the morning and a well informed cousin throughout the day.  When my mom texted me that the last suspect had been found and the President was about to speak, then I turned the T.V. back on.

3.  Focus On The Shining Light Of Humanity.  It's like the Mr. Rogers quote that made the rounds on Facebook this past week:
         "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of 'disaster', I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are sill so many helpers - so many caring people in this world."
Humans always have and always will do horrible, awful things and the shining light of humanity always has and always will prevail.

3. Focus On Your Purpose.  Whether it's your purpose in the moment or your life's purpose, fully engage yourself.  It could be an immediate purpose, such as cleaning your home for your family, tending to your houseplants or making dinner.  Or it could be focusing on your business. I found more joy in my rewarding day job this week, even though it was more stressful. Whatever it is, allow it to occupy your time and fill your spirit.  Knowing you are exactly where you're supposed to be, doing exactly what you were intended to do is very powerful.

4.  Engage In Humanity's Creations.  Go to a museum.  Listen to some great music. Watch a movie or a good T.V. series (I just spent the weekend watching Downton Abbey). Read fine literature and poetry,or simply read a trashy romance novel.  Take in the architecture in your community.  Go see a play, musical or any live show (or rent one on DVD).  Make the rounds and visit your community gardens.  These are the amazing and positive things that humans are capable of, which greatly outnumber the atrocities.

On the other hand, when I view the Roman artifacts at the Toledo Museum of Art, it reminds me that there has always been a group of humans who think there way is best and they will always be willing to do whatever it takes to impose their way of life.  It really helps put things in perspective.

5. Create Something Yourself.  Nothing can counteract the intended affects of fear-based destruction like engaging in the energy of creation.  Write a poem or short story (or start a blog).  Write a song.  Play your favorite instrument. Start a garden or work on your garden.  Paint or draw.  Take some photos.  Make a good meal.  Re-upholster a chair.  Paint your bedroom.  Engage in your favorite craft. Choose your favorite creative activity and absorb yourself in it.

(This post pushed its way into my consciousness and would not let go until I followed through - Please help me and share it with as many of your friends as possible.)

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