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Coping with the War


"The whole theory behind terrorism is 'kill one and scare a million,'" Dr. Phil says. He suggests that while we need an "appropriate response to clear and present danger," we should not be paralyzed by fear.

"We need to have a plan to report things that don't look right to us. We need to have contingency plans should something happen in our community. And it's reasonable to have some supplies," he says. "But we should not become obsessed with it, and it should not dominate our lives." The following are some rules to follow during this stressful time.

1) Keep this in perspective.
"Sometimes we can get so focused on the events of war, that we forget the sky is blue, that the sun is coming up, that there are children playing. We need to keep it in perspective. Don't become addicted to the television," Dr. Phil suggests, even if that means forcing yourself or your family to do other things.

2) Think through this philosophically.
"It sometimes helps to focus on the upside of this, and realize what's going to happen when the country is liberated, if that's the way you feel," Dr. Phil says. Try to get at peace with where you are on these issues.

3) Do something affirmatively.
If there are actions you can take, whether it's sending a letter to your congressperson or writing to a newspaper to express your views, do it. Take some action that may make you feel less frustrated.

4) Remember that this is a time-limited situation.
"This will be over, probably sooner than later," says Dr. Phil. "You're not going to have to live in this limbo state with our troops in harm's way forever and ever. I say that to the families, including mine, that have men and women over there bravely representing our country. There is an end to this. They will come home. Cling to the fact that there is light at the end of the tunnel."

During these challenging times, we must turn to each other for comfort. "There is no shame in fear," Dr. Phil says. "Fear isolates people," and now is a time to be reaching out to one another.

Our way of life has changed, and we must make some adjustments. But Dr. Phil reminds us all to keep putting one foot in front of the other. "I've always said that I'm going to spend about 5 percent deciding whether something is a good deal or bad deal, fair or unfair, and about 95 percent deciding what I'm going to do about it," he says. "Fair deal or otherwise, it's the only deal we have right now. Our country is the object of hatred by what I believe are a lot of irrational people who wish us harm. That's the truth right now. We adjust our way of life and we learn to live with it."

Dr. Phil reiterates that we will get through this. "We are a very resilient nation. We get through things because we're on the right side," he says. "We stand for things in America that are good and right — the freedoms that are important and a way of life that we can't take for granted. We're strong in character and we will get through it. The idea is not to become depressed over reality. Things are changing, but we'll deal with it."