Still Feeling Jumpy?
Ten Ways to Calm Those Nerves
WebMD News Archive
The trauma of Sept. 11 continues for many Americans in the form
of "feeling jumpy" or anxious as they go through their daily
activities. Jerilyn Ross of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America says
that's normal. "Right now, many people are having trouble sleeping, feeling
very emotional, or experiencing restricted emotions. They may feel irritable,
have trouble concentrating, have trouble getting recollections of the events
out of their minds. It is important to know that these are common reactions and
they will go away with time. As a nation we are going through one of the most
horrible things that has happened to us, and for most of us, the most horrible
thing that has happened in our lifetime."
Here are 10 tips from Ross on how to soothe yourself:
Talk about your feelings: "One of the most
important things to do right now is talk about it, [but] recognize that
everybody reacts differently to a trauma. It is perfectly normal for people to
have different reactions. There isn't any one way to feel or think."
Use deep breathing: People who are anxious
hold their breath subconsciously, which makes them nervous. Deep breathing is
very simple and very helpful, says Ross.
Be good to yourself: "Spend time doing things
you enjoy doing. Whether it's playing with a child, favorite sport, or
listening to music, it is important to have a good balance."
Get back into a routine:" In
particular, I encourage people to make sure they take care of themselves by
making sure -- even though you may not feel like sleeping or exercising or
eating -- to make sure that you get rest that you need, exercise, and eat three
meals a day.
Speak up if you're uncomfortable: "We need to
go about our day-to-day activities -- go on airplanes, go to concerts and
museums -- but with an extra eye. If you see something you're not comfortable
with, don't be afraid to speak up. If you are in a crowded place, note where
the exits are. If security clearances don't seem adequate, say something. It's
important to realize we do have some control over these situations."
Do a reality check: "We have to look at the
odds of this happening again. Is it possible? Yes. Is it probable? No."
Practice positive thinking:"When we
start having those frightening thoughts, one thing we should do is ask
ourselves 'Is this a productive thought or something my imagination is reacting
to?' If it is a productive thought and actions need to be taken, then take the
necessary steps. If it is a nonproductive thought that will only add to
anxiety, it's important to refocus your thinking with a more positive
Limit your exposure to the media: "I
tell people if the news is bothering you, it's OK not to watch it, or at least
don't watch it before you go to bed. Read a fun novel instead.