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Two Important Lessons About Stress from the Tsunami Tragedy in Japan

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Emotional Health related image Photo: Getty Images

It has been less than a week since the March 11, 2011 drama and utter horror of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. Our heads are full of terrifying images of floating homes and cars, piles of debris, a boat and a bus left on the roofs of multi-story buildings; utter destruction by Mother Nature. Yet amid all of this there are things we can learn and use to help us with our own challenges.

It’s ironic that such stressful events can help us relieve stress, but that is a lesson in and of itself; there is good to be found in just about any situation. Here are some things to think about.

1. The depth of the story. The news coverage has been amazing. Certainly the main story is in the destruction and how the victims are doing. If you watch the coverage, though, they delve into many issues that I wouldn’t have thought about: can this happen in the U.S. If so, where, and are we prepared? What about U.S. citizens who are in Japan? Are they safe? How will they get home? Considering the problems with the nuclear power plant near the epicenter, is nuclear power safe? Should we reconsider our investment in nuclear power? If we do what are the alternatives? What are the effects of radiation and what can we do about it? If the worst happens with the power plant, will the radiation affect us in the U.S? How will this disaster affect Japan’s economy? Or for that matter, the world economy? How will the weather affect the recovery operations? What is the role of Facebook and Twitter in helping people reconnect and getting news out into the world? What is the U.S. doing to provide support? How are we protecting our support personnel from potential disease and radiation?

I have barely scratched the surface; the point is that there are many important angles and things to consider that are not obvious at first but which become obvious once they are identified.

In dealing with your challenges, have you considered all of the angles and looked at them from every possible perspective? You may be surprised at what you find.

2. The culture of “community.” The Japanese victims of this disaster have been nothing short of amazing.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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