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FDNY Counseling Services UnitDealing with Uncertainty

Not knowing what has happened to a loved one at a time of crisis can create extremely painful levels of anxiety. This anxiety can threaten to overwhelm a person's thinking and emotional capacities. Here are some things to try to keep your anxiety manageable.

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  • Breathe - A shallow intake of breath followed by a long deep exhale can help calm your mind and body.
  • Find something to do which requires attention but not a lot of thought - routine tasks are good.
  • Engage in physical activity.
  • Stay connected with others by phone, email etc.
  • Keep your time frames short: think about the next hour or the next part of the day, not about the far future.
  • Pay attention to your basic needs - be sure to eat, stay hydrated, be warm or cool enough.
  • Avoid stimulants (e.g. caffeine) or alcohol since these can increase anxious feelings.
  • Read passages which are meaningful and/or reassuring to you.
  • Engage in any religious or spiritual practices which are comforting to you.
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