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Aftermath of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center

Source: michel Setboun / Getty

Now is one of those times when you have to give yourself permission to say, “Damn, I’m a little shook.”  The world is still reeling from an attack on innocent children—Abedi killed 22 people and injured 64 others during an attack that recently took place during an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Extremist attacks are meant to make people feel vulnerable, paralyzed and desperate. Terrorists want others to feel powerless. And truthfully, how could you not be at least a little scared when no one knows what will happen next, or where? Despite the reassurances officials attempt to make, and the most stellar precautions taken by federal, state or local law enforcement agencies, it is impractical to promise that there will never be another attack.

Developing the practical coping skills to function day-to-day in the face of fear requires a term I’ve coined as “courageous honesty.” You must be brave enough to say what you are feeling. What does it mean to be a man who innately wants to protect his family but understands that a lone bomber or gunman can exact fury on scores of hapless victims at any time, in any place? Say it out loud. Next, figure out how you are going to prevent angst from holding you hostage by using a few stress relievers (Read: coping mechanisms) to ensure you’re straight— remember your most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.

Here are some anxiety reducers you can start with.

We most move in the face of fear.


1.KEEP IT SO REAL. Toss the machismo, burn the cape, get with some friends and be frank about how the recent world tragedies are making you feel. Given the differences in folks’ daily routines, expect your friends and loved ones to have concerns that both mirror yours but also differ. These conversations are great opportunities to support each other and share ideas on ways to alleviate the stress everyone is feeling.

2. TIME FOR SOME ACTION. Preparation makes everyone feel a little bit more empowered.  Review the steps you’d like your immediate family to take if an emergency arises—consider everything from assigning meeting places, stashing supplies (cash, batteries, water, etc…) and memorizing extra contact numbers.

3. PUT A CAP ON IT. Staying informed is great, but information overload can also contribute to your stress levels. The news cycle may be 24/7 but that doesn’t mean you have to remain plugged in all day. It’s okay to tap out. Opt for one or two-a-day check-ins when you’re feeling burned out.

4. DO SOMETHING. Nowadays, everyone can be part of change in some manner. Want to make a difference? Raise money for a cause online. Volunteer with a local agency. Organize folks in your community. Do whatever it takes to ensure you feel like part of creating a change that makes things better.