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Coping with the Stress of Natural Disasters

of the disaster. Watching or reading news

about the event over and over again will only increase your stress.

-- Find time for activities you enjoy. Read a book, go for a walk, catch a

movie or do something else you find enjoyable. These healthy activities

can help you get your mind off the disaster and keep the stress in


-- Take one thing at a time. For people under stress, an ordinary workload

can sometimes seem unbearable. Pick one urgent task and work on it.

Once you accomplish that task, choose the next one. "Checking off"

tasks will give you a sense of accomplishment and make things feel less


-- Do something positive. Give blood, prepare "care packages" for people

who have lost relatives or their homes or jobs, or volunteer in a

rebuilding effort. Helping other people can give you a sense of purpose

in a situation that feels 'out of your control.'

-- Avoid drugs and excessive drinking. Drugs and alcohol may temporarily

seem to remove stress, but in the long run they generally create

additional problems that compound the stress you were already feeling.

-- Ask for help when you need it. If your feelings do not go away or are

so intense that they interfere with your ability to function in daily

life, talk with a trusted relative, friend, doctor or spiritual advisor

about getting help. Make an appointment with a mental health

professional to discuss how well you are coping with the recent events.

You could also join a support group. Don't try to cope alone. Asking

for help is not a sign of weakness.

Local Resources:

Access and Crisis Line: 800-479-3339

2-1-1 San Diego: 211

Mental Health America: 619-543-0412

NAMI: 619-543-1434 or 800-523-5933

SOURCE Mental Health America of San Diego County
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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