If you live in Israel chances are you are feeling anxious and on edge as terrorists violate our streets. How do we stop this situation from taking over our lives and overwhelming us? Fear has a ripple effect that overwhelms our families and environment like a tsunami. Instead of reacting to every new story of terror with unchecked fear, we need to combat this fear with greater inner calm and composure than ordinary.
However, remaining calm in our turbulent times is not an easy feat. We feel angry, scared, unsafe, alone and a mixture of other unidentifiable feelings. All we really want to do is hide under our bed covers, get away from this chaotic reality of violence and wake up with the hope that our leaders have sorted everything out so we can go on living our normal lives.
Feeling raw and vulnerable, we may lash out at our partners which may release aggression momentarily, but of course will boomerang negative consequences back to us. We need to look at healthy options to process our stress.
How to Combat Our Inner Turmoil
We need to acknowledge and be aware that the situation around us is affecting us, making us feel unsafe and more out of control. Pushing negative feelings away just makes them appear when you are least expecting them- an invitation for chaos!
Kindness and Compassion
We need to be kind and compassionate to ourselves and our loved ones. It’s okay to feel stressed out by the news. Give yourself and loved ones a break emotionally and physically. When you can’t focus at work, don’t get angry at yourself just take more breaks, breathe more, meditate, take time to focus on the good in our lives and basically re-group.
If our kids are acting out of control, don’t react, but instead understand where it’s coming from. Give them more hugs and kisses, give them permission and space to share their fears. Tell them that you feel scared too, but that together you are going to get through this period as best you can.
Find ways to laugh about the situation. Make fun of how crazy your lives have become since the matzav. Find ways to distract yourself from the realities of what’s happening. Have a family games night, watch a movie, make fresh pizza. This can be a great opportunity to create memorable family moments together.
Talk about practical strategies for how you would deal with an impending threat in a matter of fact way. This will empower every member of the family.
Most importantly, stay proactive and reflective rather than reactive. This means thinking about how you want your family to behave towards one another during times of crises. Rather than falling apart and shouting at one another because everyone is stressed to breaking point, focus on togetherness.
This begins with the parents. You as a couple need to set the stage for strength and fortitude. Role model for your family talking about difficult feelings such as ‘anger’ and ‘confusion’, whilst not acting upon them. This is a vital life skill no matter what the situation.
We need to invest in coping strategies for ourselves and our families as we face this time of turbulent terror on our doorstep. Families fall apart over far lesser challenges than what we’re experiencing at the moment. So be kind, compassionate and work together to create a loving home that’s calm in the eye of this current storm.