Q: I heard that our nation is under an orange terror alert- that sounds scary. How should I be feeling about it? A: It is important to keep in mind that different individuals have various responses to the terror alerts that are all within a normal range of reactions. Some common responses include anxiety, concern for safety, and uncertainty about the future. However, you may also experience other responses to the orange terror alert, or some people’s responses may be more intense than others. Rather than comparing your response to that of others, remember to acknowledge your reactions and take active steps to take care of yourself during this time (see “coping strategies” above).
Q: I’m told to “be alert to suspicious activity” and to “exercise caution” during the terror alerts, but thinking about it makes me more anxious. What should I do? A: While it is important to acknowledge current events and take precautions during the terror alert, it is also essential to continue your daily routine. If you begin to feel anxious, talk to someone about your concerns and exercise the coping strategies that work best for you. Give yourself permission to take breaks if you’re having difficulty concentrating. Maintain balance in your life by talking about a variety of subjects (not only war and terror) and doing a variety of activities in your free time. Q: I don’t really feel concerned about the terror alerts but others seem to be very concerned. Is that ok? A: A person’s level of distress in response to the terror alerts depends on many different factors. For instance, a person with a close family member in the military or a person who had significant exposure to the September 11 terrorist attack will likely experience higher levels of distress in response to the terror alerts. Individual responses vary, and it is important not to compare your response to that of others. This could also be an opportunity for you to provide support to others in their experience of the current events. Q: I don’t understand the difference between a yellow, an orange and a red terror alert. What is the difference in how I should be feeling about these different levels of caution? A: It is essential to remember that there is no prescribed set of feelings or reactions for yellow, orange or red levels of alert. Realize that there will be differences in your reactions and the reactions of others. Depending on your location and degree of exposure to the war, the terror alert levels may have different meanings to you. In all cases, do remain alert and informed, and continue to communicate with others about your reactions. Utilize the coping strategies listed above.
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