How to deal with anxiety about the war in Ukraine?

War has consequences that go beyond the material losses suffered by the countries involved in this type of conflict. Indeed, it has a great capacity to harm the mental health of people who live very far from scenes of violence. And in the case of the war in Ukraine, this invasion is taking place in one of the most densely populated areas in the world, so it can affect many people.

In this sense, we will see here some tips for dealing with anxiety caused by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia

How does anxiety arise before a large-scale war?

Anxiety is above all a psycho-physiological response generated by situations that we perceive as dangerous or associated with risk; in short, experiences before which it is crucial to react quickly, without stopping to think too much about what to do.

Therefore, we can see anxiety as the result of an environmental coping mechanism that for hundreds of thousands of years has helped us to stay alive, to avoid situations that can cost us life, shorten it considerably or make our chances of having offspring diminish in general; this is why this ability is present in most animals with a complex nervous system.

now fine sometimes this tendency to feel anxious in certain situations can get us in trouble; it all depends on how we deal with anxiety and the degree of danger we face. In the case of wars between countries, this situation of uncertainty can sneak between our psychological vulnerabilities to settle us in an almost constant state of anxiety; in some cases, this experience is so intense and harmful that it becomes what is called generalized anxiety disorder.

When this happens, our mind falls again and again into predicting catastrophic events that will affect us sooner or later, or directly affect our loved ones (and therefore us indirectly). And before an invasion or military conflict of any kind, we may come to fear the possibility of bombs falling in our vicinity, biological weapons being used, us being recruited for war, and so on. All of these situations are unlikely if our country is not at war, but they are serious enough that they are intensely feared and that, if we do not manage the anxiety well, they generate intrusive thoughts.

As these fears pose catastrophic predictions to us, once fear has entered our way of interpreting reality, we begin to actively seek information about this war conflict, we look at the most alarming opinions, and we begin to give more credibility to anything that leads to continue worrying, through what is called confirmation bias.

Tips for Psychologically Managing War-Related Anxiety in Ukraine

Although each case is unique and in the end the most effective way to deal with the problem is to go to psychotherapy (so that, with the help of a professional, we can have personalized support adapted to our characteristics and our experiences), these general advices can be of help to face and manage the anguish generated by the war started before the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

1. Limit your exposure to news

It is important to get out of the vicious circle of seeking information on war to try to find motorbikes to calm down (opposite effect). This happens by monitoring the time spent actively reading the newswhich means that other activities take up more of our free time.

2. Pay more attention to verifying information

In addition to exposing yourself to less information about the war, it’s important that in doing so, you don’t focus on channels that tend more towards sensationalism or speculate on the most dire predictions. In a situation of uncertainty, no one has the exact information on what will happen, why do not give all the credibility to only one or two sources (or with the same editorial line).

3. Practice relaxation techniques

Incorporating simple relaxation exercises into our daily routines can help us reduce stress and anxiety levels in minutes. Some of the simplest are Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation, controlled diaphragmatic breathing, and meditation.

4. Don’t assume it’s your responsibility to prepare for the worst

Some people feel very pressured by their family role, making them feel guilty for not preparing for an impending war, even though there are no clear signs that it will affect us directly. You need to revise these beliefs and don’t let them affect your mental well-being and, therefore, your personal relationships.

5. Focus on certainty-based goals

Once you have centauro in the project based goals that really they connect with what motivates you and with your interests and skillsthe tendency to worry about war will diminish, being displaced by these other matters.

Are you looking for professional psychological assistance services?

If you want to start a psychotherapy process with the help of a team of professionals with more than two decades of experience in mental health care, contact us.

In Advanced Psychologists we work with patients of all ages, from psychotherapy to speech therapy, sexology, neuropsychology and psychiatry. We can help you in person or through online video call therapy.

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