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Coping With the Emotional Damage Following a Disaster Following a natural disaster, damage is not limited to physical items, but damage is also dealt emotionally and mentally to the victims and those who witness the aftermath. It is important for relief workers to know what to expect and how to help these people cope with the trauma as they enter to help rebuild homes, schools, and communities.

Dealing with Emotions after a Disaster Many people will express the emotional pain in physical ways. It is important to recognize these physical ways so that you can react and help these people to the best of your ability. Some of the physical indicators that a person may be suffering emotionally or mentally include trembling, shaking, pounding heart, rapid breathing, lump in throat, feeling choked up, stomach tightening, stomach churning, dizziness, faintness, cold sweats, and racing thoughts. Relief workers should realize that they may experience some of these things themselves as they witness the suffering of the victims around them. If you are experiencing any of these things, there are several things that you should do. The first thing you should do is find comfort and support for yourself. If you do not take care of yourself first, you will not be able to help others heal from their grievances. The comfort and support you need may be received from talking to a loving, caring spouse when you return home at night. It may also be comforting to participate in hobbies which help you relax. Another thing that is quite common after a disaster like this is to feel a lack of security. Sometimes taking steps to provide for the security of yourself and your family, such as purchasing insurance or building up food storage can help ease the feeling of powerlessness or vulnerability.

Set a Routine The second thing that you should do is get back on a set routine or schedule. Humans are creatures of habit and they like things that they are familiar with. As a result, a set routine, even if slightly different from you normal one can help re-establish a sense of control in your life. The sense of control is critical to calming down and relieving other negative feelings.


If you are helping someone who is a victim through this process, you may encourage them to make sure that their children still go to bed at a certain time. Set schedules can definitely help children cope with the situation much better. Returning to regular eating, sleeping and relaxation patterns can help adults tremendously as well. As you try to relax, it may also help to do things that keep your mind occupied so that you will not think about what you have experienced and stress about it too much.

Be Social The third thing you will want to do is make sure you participate in social activities. By talking to others, you will be pulled out of yourself. In addition, you will be able to receive support from other people. This support is critical to your personal recovery and healing process. It is also important that you spend time with your loved ones. Sometimes it can even help to help others who are also suffering from the same thing. As you help them recover, you will take yourself through the healing process as well. Try to participate in normal, routine activities so that you do not feel like your life is controlled by the disaster. This will help you return to previous, happier times and to let go of the stress. It can also be helpful to attend memorials for those who died and other ritualistic events as these things will help you address the matter directly. The fourth thing you will want to do is try to overcome the sense of insecurity and lack of control that may be overwhelming you. This feeling is debilitating and will hold you back from accomplishing all that you would otherwise accomplish. However, you can overcome this feeling by realizing that you are still strong and that you can deal with the situation. In addition, you can help others and make a difference in their lives. As you make a difference in their lives, you will realize that you do have control over many things and the feeling of insecurity will dissipate. There are many things you can do to help others including volunteering your time, comforting someone, donating blood, giving to charity, sewing quilts, putting together hygiene kits, clearing away debris, serving in soup kitchens, volunteering your skills to rebuild or repair a damaged home, and so forth.

Coping With the Emotional Damage Following a Disaster  

It is not uncommon for relief workers to feel a lack of security and to suffer emotionally as they witness the aftermath of a disaster. Howe...

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