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spacer spacer Stress Reactions

Over the weeks and months after a tragedy, you and/or your students may experience a number of reactions. Having a reaction is both normal and expected. Following is a list of common reactions to stressful events and situations.

Physical Reactions
Fatigue/exhaustion
Sleep disturbance
Under activity/over activity
Change in appetite
Digestive problems
Nightmares
Muscle tremors/twitches
Headaches
Startle reactions
Cognitive Reactions
Difficulty concentrating
Difficulty solving problems
Flashbacks of the events
Difficulty making decisions
Memory disturbance
Preoccupation with the event
Lowered attention span
Violent fantasies
Emotional Reactions
Guilt
Feelings of helplessness
Emotional numbing
Overly sensitive
Fear/anxiety
Sense of hopelessness
Hyper vigilance
Anger/irritability
Moodiness

In addition to the above reactions, you and/or your students may experience a period of mild to moderate depression. These symptoms include:

Poor appetite
Insomnia
Lethargy/low energy
Social withdrawal/isolation
Loss of sexual drive
Difficulty concentrating
Persistent sad mood
Sleep disturbance
Intrusive thoughts

Again, these are normal reactions. Although painful, they are part of the recovery process. Where there is little anyone can do to take away these uncomfortable feelings, there are several things you can do to speed up the recovery process.

Things to try:

1. Within the first 24 to 48 hours, engage in periods of strenuous physical exercise alternated with relaxation (soothing music would be an additional bonus to your system.)

2. Structure your time. Keep busy and keep your life as normal as possible.

3. Don't berate yourself for having these reactions. After all, they are signs of your humanity.

4. Talk to people about your feelings, fears, and uncertainties.

5. Do not attempt to numb your emotional pain with drugs or alcohol.

6. Reach out to others and spend time with people you trust and cherish.

7. Help someone express his or her feelings. This is a very cathartic experience that should be shared.

8. Give yourself permission to fall apart, feel rotten, and cry.

9. Keep a journal. Write your way through those sleepless hours.

10. Pray, meditate, and appreciate the sanctity of life. Tomorrow is never promised.

If, after several days, you find that you are still having difficulty adjusting to school and other parts of your life, don't hesitate to contact the Counseling Center at (603)358-2437. We can help you get through this part of the healing process. We are also available to speak to groups of students, faculty, and staff.


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Updated: July 12, 2011 KSC Photos on SmugMug Subscribe to the KSC RSS news feed Keene State on Facebook Keene State on Twitter Keene State on YouTube

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