Managing Emotions During Times of Conflict

The recent conflict that erupted in Israel and Palestine may be causing a wide range of powerful thoughts, feelings and opinions. Below are some common reactions, things to keep in mind, and coping strategies you may find useful.

Common Reactions:

  • Shock—feeling that this is “unreal”
  • Range of responses from emotional outbursts or crying, to no visible reaction at all
  • Fear and anxiety about the safety of self and loved ones, and about future events
  • Poor concentration and difficulty focusing
  • Extreme exhaustion, particularly if the situation touched the lives of friends, family or coworkers
  • Physical reactions, such as stomach ache, headache, muscle tension, difficulty eating and/or sleeping

Things to Consider:

  • When our brains are trying to make sense of an event, it can slow down our recovery process if we try to fight our reactions. While intrusive thoughts and emotions may occur, they are a normal part of recovery and will usually diminish over time. Accepting reactions as part of processing can speed up recovery.
  • Everyone reacts to violent events in their own way and with varying intensities.
  • Avoid using alcohol, caffeine or other substances to cope, as they prevent your ability to work through the thoughts and emotions brought up by trauma. They also interfere with sleep, which makes it harder for your body to recover from stress.
  • This experience may bring up past experiences of violence, even if you have worked through those already. This is common and often diminishes as time passes.

Processing your Emotions:

  • Give yourself permission to feel “down” or sad
  • Physical exercise alternated with relaxation can help alleviate some of the physical reactions
  • Structure your time—keep busy
  • Maintain as normal a schedule as possible
  • Talk to people and share your feelings
  • Do things that make you feel good
  • Reach out and spend time with others—people do care
  • Get plenty of rest


Your Employee Assistance Program provides free and confidential assessment and counseling services. If you are interested in learning more about your benefits, call BHS at 800-245-1150 to speak to your dedicated Care Coordinator.