Managing Your War Anxiety

The invasion of Ukraine is a frightening and distressing event, and many of us are coping with difficult emotions as a result. This has not been an easy time in the world, and as the conflict unfolds, it is important to make time to evaluate how you are doing, check in with friends and loved ones, and take necessary steps to prioritize your mental health.

“I think everyone’s experiencing some degree of anxiety about what’s happening in the world,” says Michael Ziffra, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University in Chicago.    “We’re in very uncertain times, and times of uncertainty tend to be very anxiety-provoking for people.”

Not only is war terrible to read about, much alone be involved in, but it is also returning many people to the heightened level of anxiety and feeling of existential danger they have been experiencing since the outbreak started, despite the fact that they are in very different circumstances. 

It is possible to be thankful for whatever sense of security you now have while yet feeling distressed for a variety of reasons. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for making yourself – and others – feel better. 

 

Focus On The Facts 

One of the biggest issues surrounding war anxiety is that there is a lot of information coming from all different directions. This in itself can be anxiety-inducing, even if you don’t know precisely what that information is telling you. Simply the fact that there is a constant stream of information is enough to cause problems. Then, when you do start reading and listening to the stories, everything can become much worse; there is so much to be horrified about. 

This is why it’s crucial to only focus on the facts. Pick one trusted news source that you are sure won’t exaggerate the stories and, if you do need to know what is happening (and for some, it might be better to ignore the news altogether), just read the stories once a day. In this way, you are minimizing your contact with the news but still finding out what you need to know. 

 

Sort Through Your Feelings 

According to research, the typical human has between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts every day. A plethora of emotions flow from such ideas. This is how our brains function as humans. We have an idea, and it makes us feel something. We have emotions, and they cause us to think. But have you ever considered that you can order your ideas and emotions? If you are feeling anxious about something – in this case, the war – you can take some time to sort through your feelings and understand more about what it is you are worried about. 

Once you have understood exactly what it is that’s causing you the most distress and anxiety, you can work on reducing the issue in the best way you can. This might be by shutting off the news and ignoring social media. It could be through donating to charities. Maybe it is about spreading the accurate information you have found.

 

Take Time For Self-Care

No matter how you do it, whether it’s through meditation, exercise, or making sure you get plenty of sleep, taking time for your own self-care is crucial when you’re feeling the effects of war anxiety. 

You might feel as though you’re being selfish if you take this time out. After all, the victims of the way won’t have this luxury. However, the fact is that you can take this time for yourself, and you must. They say you cannot pour from an empty cup, meaning you won’t be able to help anyone if you’re not ensuring your health (physically and mentally) is taken care of first, and this is true. 

 

Cut Back On Caffeine And Alcohol 

A lot of people claim that caffeine makes them more anxious. Caffeine activates the adenosine receptors in our brain and stimulates the adrenal glands thus this is actually exactly what happens. Therefore, if you’re feeling anxious about the war, drinking too much caffeine will make you feel much worse. You’ll be more easily able to deal with your anxiety if you don’t add to it with caffeine. The same is true for alcohol; you may feel you are self-medicating by having a drink, but too much is bad for you and will certainly make you feel worse. 

 

Seek Professional Help 

Even if you don’t suffer from a specific sort of anxiety illness, you might be trapped in a world of illogical fear, hopelessness, and dread. It’s time to seek professional treatment if you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety that are beyond your control, including:

  • Anxiety constantly interferes with your personal or professional life
  • Consequences include sleep disorders that are difficult to overcome
  • Your ability to focus is affected
  • It doesn’t allow you to do the things you want to do
  • Negative feelings of self-worth and self-doubt 
  • Separates you from others around you 
  • You have suicidal thoughts

Anxiety disorders, in addition to causing emotional and mental distress, may also lead to physical ailments such as digestive difficulties, migraines, or persistent pain. Your physical health may be in jeopardy because of your worry. If you’ve discovered this, you should get assistance immediately.

There are a lot of decent people striving for a better world right now, so don’t forget that. People from all across the globe are doing their part to prevent conflict and the use of nuclear weapons in the future. Remember, there are people just like you around the world, and you don’t have to suffer alone.

 

Anxiety Counseling in Lakewood & Longmont Colorado

We invite you to call us at 720-551-4553 for a free 20-minute phone consultation with an anxiety specialist. You can schedule your appointment via phone, or the contact page on our website

Self Care Impact Counseling envisions a new age of counseling for adolescents, adults, couples & groups that makes a REAL difference with core values of GROWTH | BALANCE | COMPASSION | INNER HARMONY.

Author, Alayna Baillod, LCSW, EMDRIA Approved EMDR Consultant/Therapist, Level 1 & 2 Gottman Couples Therapy, Trained in Emotion- Focused Therapy, CBT, DBT, IFS (Internal Family Systems), Attachment Theory, Narrative Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy.  Alayna is as real as-it-gets!  Clients see Alayna as down-to-Earth, relatable, having a good sense of humor (and using it!) and confident in sharing her therapeutic expertise. She is an extensively trained, passionate therapist who strives to meet clients where they’re at while providing an appropriate amount of challenge to gently push clients to grow beyond their comfort zone. You can expect a supportive, guiding and grounded presence in the therapy room with Alayna.