Thursday, April 30, 2009

Facing the Unknown--Coping with Our Emotions.

The following resource has been prepared by the Caring Ministries of the Church of the Brethren:

Facing new and unknown situations such as the current H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus outbreak can cause us to experience apprehension, anxiety, and fear. These are natural psychological responses to the unknown, and it is expected that we might feel anxious and distressed about this new and spreading disease. However, there are some things we can do to help us cope during stressful situations such as this.

Coping with stress and anxiety:

Lisa Wyatt, director of Counseling and Psychological Services at Sonoma State University, offers these tips for coping with stress and anxiety (
  • Limit your exposure to news stories which can include incorrect or outdated information.

  • Get accurate, timely information from reliable sources.

  • Educate yourself about the specific health hazards associated with swine flu.

  • Maintain your normal daily routine to the extent possible.

  • Exercise, eat well, and rest.

  • Stay active physically and mentally.

  • Stay in touch with family and friends.

  • Find comfort in your spiritual and personal beliefs.

  • Keep a sense of humor.

  • Find healthy ways to express your feelings.
Becoming informed:

Knowing the facts and taking appropriate precautions can help us be prepared and not panic. The following websites provide accurate information about the H1N1 virus and disease, and how to prevent its spread.

The website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at offers information about the H1N1 flu and what we can do to stay healthy.

Knowing how to care for someone with the H1N1 flu can help decrease anxiety and increase effectiveness as a caregiver. This article at provides practical suggestions for caring for people with the flu and preventing the spread of the illness in the home.

An interview with Dr. Joseph Bocchini, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' committee of infectious diseases, discusses how grandparents and parents should prepare for the possible threat of swine flu in their families. Go to and click on the "Expert Advice" tab, then "Health," to access the article, "Swine Flu: What Grandparents Need to Know."

Staying connected:

During times of anxiety and stress, it helps to remain connected with family, friends, and our faith community. This can be difficult due not only to geographical distance, but also because people may distance themselves from others to lessen the chance of exposure to the virus. However, we can stay connected by phone, mail, e-mail, and texting, if we cannot be together in person.

It is important to share feelings, fears, and concerns while offering a listening ear and support to those around us. Now is a great time to reach out and connect with family members, old and new friends, church members, and others who might be feeling anxious, alone, and isolated. Watching out for each other is an expression of Christ’s compassion and care. Together we can help support each other during this difficult time.

Source: 4/30/2009 Newsline Extra

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