Coping With Psychological Warfare at Home
Learn how to defend yourself from the psychological terror that war brings.
How to Cope continued...
"When people are stressed, there is a temptation to lose
touch with reality and to blur the boundary between reality and fantasy,"
He says the reality might be that the chance of becoming a
victim of terror is very small, but the fantasy is, "Oh my, it's going to
happen to me and happen to everyone."
"If you blur that line and start making decisions on false
data," says Haroun, "that's going to lead to bad decision
He says the first thing is to stay grounded in reality, seek
out reliable sources of news and information, and don't rush to make quick
judgments based on incomplete or inaccurate information.
"Because we are people, our decision-making skills can be
impaired in times of extreme stress, so the trick is to talk to wise
people," says Haroun.
That could be a trusted family member, counselor, clergy, or
other person who has sound judgment.
The second thing to do is reduce your stress level. The easiest
way to do that is to talk about the stress and fear you're feeling with someone
Trauma expert Charles Figley says that people often fall into
two camps after experiencing trauma: overreaction or underreaction.
"If we overreact in an emotional way, then we're not
thinking very logically and clearly, and we could benefit from thinking it
through rationally," says Figley. "If we only go to the rational part
and don't think about the humanity and the emotions, then we are also denying
sensitivity to that and awareness of how we may be responding, perhaps not now
but eventually on an emotional level."
Figley and Haroun say it's worth asking yourself why you might
be under- or overreacting to a particular situation because it may be related
to something in your subconscious.
"It may be associated with one's own fear of death, you may
be still grieving a previous death, or fearful for a relative in military
service," says Figley. "Then that's where you put your attention, not
where it started but where it led you."
Protecting Children From Psychological Warfare
Experts say both adults and children today are more susceptible
to the effects of psychological terror than in years past due to the
proliferation of media outlets.
"It's a heightened issue with the amount of bombardment
there is with television, radio, and the Internet. It has exponentially
increased over the past couple of decades," says psychologist Debra Carr,
PsyD, of the Institute for Trauma and Stress at the New York University Child
Studies Center. "For adults who are 30 or 40, what they experienced growing
up with television is no longer the reality."