No one knows how long a war will last or how it will affect our lives. We may feel uncertain about the future and anxious about events that are out of our control. You may react differently to a war today because of the impact of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Terrorism creates fear and uncertainty about the future. Because terrorist acts are random and unpredictable, war today poses a new kind of threat, one with which Americans have had little experience. You may feel more afraid, insecure and vulnerable as a result of concerns that the United States could be attacked again.
We do not all respond the same way to war. Someone with previous experience in war or other types of conflict may unexpectedly recall distressing thoughts and feelings from that previous experience. Those of us who have family and friends in the reserves or military may worry over their well-being.
War affects each of us differently, and we all have an individual and unique way of dealing with stressful situations in a time of war. Building resilience — the ability to adapt well to unexpected changes and events — can help us manage stress and feelings of anxiety and uncertainty related to war. However, being resilient does not mean that you won't experience difficulty or distress. Emotional pain and sadness are common when we have suffered major trauma or personal loss in a time of war or even when we hear of someone else's loss or trauma. We all can develop resilience. It involves behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be learned over time. Following are tips to build resilience that can help you adapt to unexpected events and stressful situations in a time of war.