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Wellbeing: How to cope after an earthquake

During an earthquake, it's natural to feel insecure and anxious, both for your own safety and that of your family.  Here are a few simple ways to find calm amidst chaos:

Tips to stay safe during an earthquakeTips to stay safe during an earthquake1.    Breathe — Put your hands on your stomach or chest, and feel it rise and fall with each breath. Focus on your breathing, and do this whenever you feel the onset of a panic attack.

2.    Walk — sometimes the blind act of walking can help calm you down, both physically and emotionally. Focus on each footstep, and shut out the chaos around you. It will help anchor your mind, and bring yourself together.

3.    Share —  Talking to friends, family and colleagues is an important coping technique during stressful times.  Do the breathing exercise together, talk about how you feel, listen and support each other to get through shared insecurities.

4.    Help children stay calm by having them hold their favourite toy, and lie down on their backs with the toy on their tummies. Watching the toy rise and fall with their breath will help bring calm. In fact, this is a great technique to practice along with the child.  Talk to them if they have questions, answering in simple, honest sentences.  Be supportive and loving, and as far as possible, act calm and reassuring in their presence.

5.    If you find yourself overcome with emotion, don't shut out the feeling. Tell yourself its okay to feel this way and focus on your body's physical response to the emotion. Use the breathing techniques described above, and ride it out as far as possible without being overwhelmed.
* Tips to stay safe during an earthquake.

Source: Mental Health Foundation, New Zealand.

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