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It is natural to be afraid of air raids, missile attacks.

It is natural to be afraid of air raids and missile attacks.

However, it is important to learn to master this fear whenever possible so that it does not permeate your entire life, does not turn into panic, and does not provoke you into destructive actions or dangerous inaction. The recommendations of Tetyana Sirenko, deputy director of the psychological direction of the Center for Mental Health and Rehabilitation "Lisova Polyana" of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, can help you do this:

✅ Do exercises to normalize breathing. Put your hands on your stomach and while inhaling imagine that you are inflating a balloon located in the middle of your stomach. As you exhale, deflate the balloon. This will calm the autonomic nervous system. An even greater effect can be achieved if the length of the exhalation is twice as long as the inhalation. For example, inhale 1-2-3, exhale 1-2-3-4-5-6. This exercise should be done several times a day.

 ✅ You can use the "Butterfly" exercise: Cross your palms with your thumbs interlocked - it resembles a butterfly. Put your palms to your chest and alternately rhythmically tap your collarbone. Because of the internal vibrations, you will hear sounds like a loud heartbeat - it will calm you down. Continue this exercise until you feel that your breathing has evened out.

✅  Focus your attention on your feet. Feel how they stand firmly on the surface, ground, or floor. If circumstances allow, it is advisable to remove your shoes. Feel the force of gravity, imagine how your feet grow into the surface. Imagine that they are strong roots that grow in the soil as deep as your imagination allows. Concentrate on your feelings, breathing, and thoughts. Also, you can imagine that your feet are a solid foundation of a good house, tower, or fortress.

 ✅ If excessive fear and unpleasant sensations caught you in a crowded place, try to look at the people around you, and concentrate on the details and features of their appearance and appearance. Are they men or women? What kind of hairstyle do they have? What is their predominant age? What accessories do they have: umbrellas, glasses, bags? You can focus on one person and try to determine their age, profession, and hobbies...

✅  Choose for yourself any attractive object that will be grounding for you in case of need. It can be a special pebble, a button or a coin, a small figurine, or a bone - anything that can evoke pleasant memories and feelings. It is good to have this thing always available and at hand. When you feel excessive fear, take the object of your choice in your hands and concentrate on the sensations it evokes. Try to describe the shape, color, etc.

✅ During stress and anxiety, the body produces the hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. The body needs to be helped to eliminate excessive amounts of them by drinking more water. If you have a lot of tasks per day and a busy schedule - try to control the number of tasks per day, and do not forget about physical activity.

 ✅ Remember that every event has a beginning and an end. All bad events end eventually. Our goal is to save ourselves and survive these events with the least losses. Therefore, try to take care of the basic needs: food, drink, sleep, and rest, if possible, after the hard days full of air alarms and dangers. Whenever possible, bring back daily routines and rituals into your life. Daily routines help.

The publication was prepared within the framework of the National Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Program initiated by the First Lady of Ukraine

Olena Zelenska.

(с) 2023

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