Overcoming hurricane stress

Nov. 5, 2012 at 9:11 PM
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GREENWICH, Conn., Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane or any disaster is stressful because familiar places have disappeared or have changed, a U.S. expert says.

Dr. Henri Roca, medical director of Greenwich Hospital's Integrative Medicine Program in Connecticut, said the upheaval brought about by a natural disaster the likes of Hurricane Sandy forces us to reorganize how we see the world. Roca was a New Orleans native who helped individuals cope with Hurricane Katrina stress before he relocated to Connecticut.

"We lose our mental mind map. The challenge is that everything is different, from the places we usually go, the routes we drive, the colleagues and friends we see," Roca said in a statement. "We don't realize how much we depend on the things we consider solid and foundational. We lose our foundation, sometimes literally."

People tend to retreat to their home, when the way out of the chaos and stress is exactly the opposite, Roca said.

When facing adversity and upheaval, Roca suggested to:

-- Eat a diet high in protein. Stay away from sweets and carbohydrates, especially simple carbs from white flour.

-- Focus on exercise, even if it's just taking a walk as a family. Exercise helps to reduce depression, as does sunlight.

-- Seek other people. Talk to neighbors. Visit friends and family.

-- Re-prioritize.

-- Find ways to relax with gentle music, meditation, deep breathing or quiet-time reading.

-- Let go of perfection. Do the best you can do.

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