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19 Nov. 2022

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How to overcome fear during an air alert: effective exercises and basic rules

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Ukraine

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How to overcome fear during an air alert: effective exercises and basic rules

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Fear is a natural human emotion that arises during dangerous or stressful situations. It is impossible to avoid it, but we can try to control the reaction so as not to harm our physical and emotional health.


Firstly, recognize that it is natural to be afraid. That is, your fear of air danger signals and missile attacks is not unfounded. In order for it not to turn into a panic, it is necessary to master simple techniques. Tetyana Sirenko, deputy director of the psychological department of the "Lisova Polyana" Center for Mental Health and Rehabilitation of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, shared recommendations on how to correctly and effectively control one's emotions and not expose oneself and one's body to danger.


Normalize breathing thanks to special exercises


1) "Balloon":

Think that you need to inflate the balloon inside you. Place your hands on your stomach and breathe in and out slowly. Inhale - you imagine blowing up a ball, exhale - deflate. As you breathe slowly and purposefully, the autonomic nervous system calms down, and you return to normal. Breathing with a long exhalation is the most effective. Try to inhale for three seconds and exhale for five. For example, inhale 1–2–3, exhale 1–2–3–4–5–6. This exercise should be done several times a day.


2) "Butterfly":

Palms crossed with thumbs resemble a butterfly. So put the palms joined in this way to the chest and rhythmically tap the collarbones. The vibrations you will feel will calm you down, so over time your breathing will become calm. Continue this exercise until you feel that your breathing has evened out.


What rules should be remembered to master fear?


Feel the ground beneath your feet


If the fear has caught you indoors, take off your shoes and focus on the sensations of the hard floor. Imagine your feet connecting with the surface, becoming strong roots or the foundation of a house. Let your imagination handle the emotions. This exercise will also be effective on the street or in a crowded place. The main thing is to concentrate on yourself, breathing and thoughts.


Focus on objects and people around you


Concentrating on familiar and very simple things helps to ground yourself and get out of the stupor. What should be done? Look around and fix the look on people: name the color of their hair, clothes, hairstyles, accessories. When the attack of fear eases, try to guess their age, profession, hobbies. 


Come back to reality with tactile sensations


Choose a small item that will help you during anxiety attacks or panic attacks. Something dear to the heart and small will do. It doesn't matter if it's a pebble, a figurine or a dice, carry it with you. As soon as you feel fear, take this object and mentally describe its physical characteristics - shape, color, texture, etc.


Drink enough water and recharge

 

Hormones released in stressful situations - cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine - need to be removed from the body as soon as possible. Water is the best solution for this. The Ministry of Health also advises to remember the balance between work and personal life, to do physical exercises and rest, so that the body spends less time in stressful situations.


Concentrate on the positive


All bad events end sooner or later. So it is important to take care of yourself, not to panic and survive difficult times without harming your body. Add breathing exercises to your daily routine, and take care of the basic needs: good food and sleep. Also, don't forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day.


If you have many tasks per day and a busy schedule, try to control the number of tasks per day, do not forget about physical activity.


Remember that the main goal is to save yourself and survive these events with minimal losses.


We will remind you! There are free resources and initiatives you can use to support your mental health. Details at the link.