3 Ways to Cope with Disaster

Bad things will always happen, but our reaction determines our immediate state of mind

darren-nolander-disasterWe use coping mechanisms every day to keep our lives in balance. They let our brains know it’s okay to focus on non-life-threatening tasks, and tell our hearts they can remain open to the world at hand. That there is no danger present. That fear has not taken up residence here.

But what happens when life and its events (whether personal or more global on scale) threaten that stability? The recent hurricanes in the south and southeast are just a few reminders of how easily outside forces can threaten our perceived safety. Whatever keeps you up at night, know there is an abundance of positive resources out there that can help restore your mindfulness when things feel out of control.

Turning to alcohol, mindless social media outlets, junk food, television or any other number of other unhealthy habits may only feed the fear or hysteria that motivated you to “tune out” of your daily life to begin with. Cast them aside in favor of some natural endorphin-achieving activities when the world feels less than stellar.

Get out in nature. Run, hike, bike, picnic, stand-up paddleboard, do yoga, build a sandcastle with your kids, watch a live sporting event, participate in a sporting event – natural light and a little movement have been proven to do wonders for our morale.

Go inside. What I mean by this is turn inward, rather than seeking “relief” or distraction in external substances and stimuli. Read an inspirational book, meditate, pray, start a gratitude journal. Happiness truly is a state of mind. Experts agree a key component to this happiness is realizing all we have to be grateful for, then actually being grateful for it!

Look outward. Realize you’re not the first person (and you won’t be the last) to feel the weight of the world and ponder the point of it all. None of us has all the answers. Heck, we don’t really have any answers. But there are people out there who are wonderful at providing solace and a sense of community in tough times. Pastors, preachers, counselors, parents, mentors, inspirational podcasters, self-help authors, the list goes on and on. While no one person can provide everything we’re looking for, and individuals offer different levels of service and response, take comfort in knowing there is an entire community of people ready, willing and able to walk beside you when it feels too difficult to walk alone.


Regional Vice President - Southwest

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