Healthy Ways To Deal With Stress After A Natural Disaster

22 June 2022
Wisnu Pudji Pawestri

Natural disasters have the potential to produce high levels of stress, anxiety, and anger in those who are affected. They are considered to be traumatic events and can potentially trigger post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in survivors. Unlike other traumatic events, natural disasters can result in tremendous destruction of property and financial loss, which further contributes to stress levels and disrupts coping efforts.


Basically, feeling stressed before or after a traumatic event such as a natural disaster is normal. But, this stress becomes a problem when we are unable to cope well with it and when the stress gets in the way of taking care of ourselves and family, going to school, or doing our jobs. Coping well with stress begins with recognizing how we are reacting and then by taking steps to manage our reactions in a healthy way. Here are some healthy ways you can deal with stress after a natural disaster:


1. Focus on self-care

Self-care is integral to emotional and physical health. Caring for your body, mind, and spirit can increase your ability to cope with stress. Make sure you eat well, get enough sleep, exercise, and  give yourself a break if you feel stressed out.


2. Seek out and connect with social support

Research has consistently found that early intervention, resources, and support from others can be a major factor in helping people overcome the negative effects of a traumatic event and increased psychological resilience. Given that a natural disaster can impact an entire community, your support system may be weakened by a natural disaster. However, even connecting with one person can make a difference.


3. Talk to others

Share your feelings with others, or at the very least, find some way to express your emotions. A natural disaster can result in strong feelings of anger, anxiety, and sadness. These emotions need to be expressed. If you hold them in, they may get more intense.


4. Try to establish a schedule

For example, set regular times for meals, waking up in the morning, or talking with family and friends. A natural disaster can greatly disrupt your regular schedule increasing the extent to which your life feels chaotic and out of control. Coming up with a daily, structured schedule can help you establish a sense of predictability and control.


5. Find ways to help others

Helping others can provide you with a sense of agency, purpose, control, and empowerment.


6. Recognize when you need more help

If problems continue or you are thinking about suicide, talk to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor.



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The contents of the article, both the chosen point of view and the ideas included are the full responsibility of the author. This article is not intended to convey the official views of CARI