Common Reactions to War

People respond differently.  Personal response to war can differ from one individual to another. You might experience a variety of the things listed below. The information on this page is presented to raise awareness of common reactions to war. Below the common responses to war are some suggestions for ways to cope.

Be compassionate with yourself.  Allow yourself to feel whatever feelings come up. Realize that a wide range of emotions are normal. Some of us may have stronger reactions because we know people who are directly involved in the war or may be dealing with current challenges in our lives. Many of our basic assumptions of safety, meaning, and spirituality may be challenged. Be patient with yourself and the emotions that come up. Give yourself time to process them and receive support from others. Look for ways to experience hope and happiness.

Help is available.  If you feel significant emotional distress or feel that these responses interfere with your ability to function normally, then professional assistance may be helpful. If you would like to make an appointment to talk to a counselor or if you have any questions please feel free to contact the Counseling Center at 285-1746.

Common Emotions






anxiety resentment grief torn confident
insecurity outrage emotional pain shame/pride proud
vulnerability skepticism loss hesitant hopeful
powerlessness dissillusionment hopeless torn grateful
uncertainty vengeful helpless troubled excited
disgusted tearful disheartened unsettled enthusiastic
guarded ridiculed ashamed undecided encouraged
tense annoyed defeated misunderstood energized

Coping with Reactions to War
Make lifestyle changes:

    • Maintain routine
    • Eat right
    • Exercise regularly
    • Develop and maintain social support
    • Avoid excessive use of caffeine, alcohol, and drugs
    • Develop positive self-affirming attitudes toward yourself

Do specific activities to reduce anxiety:

    • Stretch
    • Progressive muscle relaxation
    • Safe place visual imagery
    • Prayer/meditation
    • Laughter
    • Focus on positive self-talk

War related activities:

    • Limit war-related news coverage
    • Do altruistic deeds
    • Form an emergency plan
    • Peace or pro-troop rallies