We are all in a time of high stress, and
national disasters often bring up fear. If these fears are not
dealt with, they can lead to “acting out” behavior,
such as drinking too much or creating relationship, work or money
problems as a distraction. To avoid these kinds of problems,
follow these simple steps for resolving your fear and anxiety.

1. Learn to recognize the signs of your own anxiety. If you can't
sleep, you worry a lot, you “ruminate” or obsess about
negative possibilities, or you're unusually irritable or needy,
you are probably anxious.

2. Give yourself a chance to complain and express your fear.
When you're facing the involuntary changes that are the result
of a disaster, you will have some resistance and objections to
dealing with it. Allow yourself some time to complain and be
unhappy about the situation. Express as many of the negative
feelings and thoughts as possible, either verbally or on paper.
If your fear is really overwhelming, a therapist can help you
with this part.

3. Evaluate your fears and complaints. Allow yourself some time
to consider the points you made in your list. Is there anything
that you can do differently? Do you want to? Have you made all
the choices you can? Are you thinking clearly about the problem?
Are you angry at anyone specifically? Are you resisting unnecessarily?
If you have a choice, do you still want to change things? If
you don't have a choice, can you see some alternatives? Do your
options look different to you now?

4. Befriend yourself to build trust. Discuss the problem with
yourself as helpfully as you would with another friend. Brainstorm
for ideas, realistic or even silly, about what you could do to
make things better. For example:

   • I could move to Timbuktu and avoid the
whole thing.

   • I could talk to Harry and see if he
can help me think this through.

   • I could ask Martha to help.

   • I could find a Genie and have him make
this all better.

   • I could win millions in the lottery
and be able to buy my safety.

   • I could go on with my life, doing the
best I can, and trust that God will take care of me.

5. Do whatever you can to check the facts about safety, and consider
all the possibilities for taking care of yourself and those you

6. Review and decide. Once you've expressed your anger and disappointment,
evaluated your feelings, brainstormed ideas and checked the facts,
you will be feeling much more in charge of yourself and this
situation. Review what you've discovered and make some decisions.

7. Sell yourself on a positive outcome. Think of all the possible
great outcomes of the changes you're making. Consider what you
will learn from it. Figure out how you can maximize the benefits
of making the change. When you've convinced yourself, make a
commitment to your plan.

8. Post and follow your plan. Draw up a plan for making the best
possible results come out of this change. Put the plan where
you can see it and read it every day. Do your best to follow
the plan, so you'll feel safe. — excerpted from The
10 Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make

Before 40.

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for LoveForever.com, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.