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In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, you can create change now using these strategies

After Hurricane Sandy many of my East Coast clients contacted me.  They reached out and shared that they were feeling a sense of powerlessness, helplessness and shock.  One of my clients wrote me, “How can I create a change now?  I don’t want to feel this fear and anxiety. I can’t change what happened, but in  terms of how I feel, I need to create change NOW.”  Here are the strategies we discussed to create a change now in the wake of sudden loss or devastation.
All human beings are driven by six basic human needs.  The first, foundational need is the need for certainty.  An event like Hurricane Sandy is an event that causes the victims to immediately lose this sense of certainty, stability, security and order.  We all crave certainty.  We each need a different amount of certainty in our lives,  but we all share the basic need for certainty.  When my clients report feeling powerless, I know it is the need for certainty that is unmet.  The fastest and easiest way to address this feeling is to put in place routine.
If your life has been turned upside down and you are without power or have been displaced, chances are your daily routines have been drastically stopped or altered.  Strategy one is to immediately put into place one or two daily routines that you can commit to even in light of your new circumstances.  This is especially important for giving children back a sense of safety and security.  Exercise of some sort is a great tool if it is an option for you, or any daily pattern of action you can repeat.  Children will seek and cling to repetition in the aftermath of a life altering event so put in place a reading ritual or meal ritual that will quickly restore a sense of order.  These techniques will not replace the stability or certainty in your life before change took place, but rather will act to help establish a temporary sense of security while you work to put your life back together.
Another strategy by which to create positive change after loss is to look for things to appreciate.  Even in the darkest of times there is something for which you can be grateful.  The energy of gratitude is powerful and healing.  Children especially take to a gratitude practice quickly as it allows them to turn their focus to what makes them feel loved, safe and peaceful.  This can be challenging when you are suffering, but it will bring reward.  Gather with others and share aloud what you are grateful for.
Finally, and perhaps the most powerful strategy is to ask yourself and your children, “What can I take from this experience that will serve me?”  When we change the questions we ask, we change the meaning we are drawing from the circumstances. ” Why did this happen?” will not help you to move forward, but “How can I grow from this?” will open up channels for expansion.  No matter what you’ve had to endure, there is something you have learned about yourself or reconnected to within yourself that you were not aware of before.  If you can’t change the events, why not choose to expand as a person.
And above all else, extreme self-care is called for in times of mass devastation, destruction and suffering.  Take care of yourself so you can take care of others.  If you are a parent or caring for someone else, this is your first and most important strategy to create a change now.  Sometimes, life presents us with unimaginable shocking circumstances.  We have little choice in the circumstances.  Our power is in what we focus on, what meaning we draw from it, and who we choose to become.

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