Doctor MaryJayne on Wellness

It has been a week since the little country of Haiti was devastated by an earthquake which has left the entire world reeling. It will be years before Haiti recovers: physically, economically, socially, and psychologically. As a world community, brought together by television, computers, newspapers and radio, tragedies of this sort affect us all. Thinking back to the Chinese Earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and 9/11; most of us recall how the images and tales of suffering made us feel. The "emotional aftershocks" rumble through each of us at some level.

It is especially during these times when our psychic or energetic connection to our fellow human beings as well as to the earth, become vividly apparent. After the initial shock, we react in different ways: denial, remorse, the need to DO something to help. But even if there is no outward expression of it – we all grieve in some way.

However, we have to be mindful of our personal emotional and psychological health as well. It is so easy to become engulfed in the media's attention to the despair and suffering of the situation. And because we ARE human – caring and empathetic – we feel compelled to watch it; listen to it, look at it. It is important to be aware that too much of this kind of input can harm us as well. It can lead to depression, anxiety and even a sort of "remote post traumatic stress disorder."

Here are some ideas to help you feel as though you are sympathetic and informed without becoming overwhelmed:

Limit the amount of visual media through television or YouTube for example. Perhaps give yourself a viewing budget of 10 minutes in the morning and at night (or less if that is what your need).

1. Try to gather your information from the most objective sources possible. Some News broadcast are strongly conservative or liberal.    Sometimes statements are made on these broadcasts that are intended to incite or inflame viewers. We don't need that right now.

2. Find ways to feel as though you are contributing to the recovery process. Here are some ideas:
We are fortunate to live in a very generous world:

3. Is there a donation Jar at the grocery store or coffee shop? Every quarter counts...
Local Radio and Television Stations are partnering with communities for drive-through donations.
Do you have a talent or service? Host your own fund raiser!
And if you are someone who meditates or prays, perhaps you could take a moment to send your wishes for healing and recovery to the people and the country of Haiti.


There are places all over the globe offering to take donations – from the Red Cross to the International Rescue Committee Google also has a page for current updates, to help people find a friend or loved one in Haiti, and to share information. Another option are charities like The Greater Good Network where you can donate directly or by shopping for a gift to support free trade efforts. This way you can benefit multiple causes in one quick click.

Even More:

  1. Remember that when we have stress, we tend to breathe more shallowly.  Slow down.  Breathe deeply.
  2. Exercise  - Some people find a hearty aerobic activity helps them de-stress while others prefer the quiet breath work of Yoga or Pilates.
  3. Guided Relaxation or Meditation - If you are not sure what exercises to do to relax,or if you have never meditated and would like to try,  there are excellent CDs or programs you can download to your ipod.

Remember - There is so much you can do to take care of others - and you!

Join the conversation!


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