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Coping With Negative Feelings: Thirst And Hunger
Today we’re going to talk about two of the most distressful feelings that frequently occur during a crisis or disaster: thirst and hunger. Just like pain, thirst and hunger have deep effects both on the body and the soul, as they can gradually lead to pain, panic, fear, and despair.
Everyone has gone through these states several times in their lives, from mild sensations to painful hunger and the desperate desire to quench thirst. I’m sure you know just as well how unpleasant it is to have an empty stomach growling for food or a dry mouth begging for a drop of water…
But, in normal conditions, you can find multiple ways to break free from these feelings. In today’s society, it’s almost impossible not to get something to eat or drink when you’re extremely hungry or thirsty.
During a disaster or crisis, however, things might not be as easy as you’re used to. Let’s take a worst-case scenario, for example. Suppose an earthquake hit your town and your house is now a big pile of cement. Your stockpile is buried underneath, together with all your belongings, including money and valuables. Your garden didn’t survive, either. Roads are blocked and it will probably be a couple days before they’re cleared.
This can only mean one thing: you’ve got two days with scarce or no food and water ahead. So how do you cope with that? Let’s take these feelings one by one and see what we can do about them.
First, we’ve got thirst.
If you’re deprived of water for a long time and your thirst gets unbearable, it is extremely important to stay calm and avoid excessive agitation. You may not know this, but the need for water increases if you’re fearful, stressed out or if you waste a lot of energy. Just be calm and search for water without running around or stressing out.
The best plan for finding a reliable source of water: Breath deeply for at least 30 seconds. This will oxygenate your brain and help you think clearer. Then take a minute to think of the closest sources of water (including supermarkets and stores, public libraries and parks). Eliminate the ones that are most probable of being affected by the disaster. Ask the police, the firemen or any other authority which roads are blocked. Take the shortest clear road towards the nearest reliable water source.
What about hunger?
This one is a bit easier than dealing with thirst. When you’re facing an extreme situation like a disaster, you’re so caught up in the frenzy that you forget all about hunger. Your body tries to block this sensation until you’re clear from danger and you can start looking for food.
If there is no way you can get regular food, you should try to be open to new sources of nourishment, like plants that grow in parks (though you’ll have to make sure they’re not poisonous) and even insects. You’ll go “Ewww!” right now, but when hunger strikes and there’s no food in sight, they’ll work wonders!
Remember: Food aversion is normal when you’re dealing with foods you’ve never tried before. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t break your own barriers and eat food you find “strange”. Just keep in mind it will keep you strong and healthy, so you can protect your family all throughout the crisis.
If you deprive your body from food, irritation will shortly set in. It may not seem like much, but it can add even more tension in your family and ruin your survival plans. Also, irritation can lead to depression and overall weakness, which turn you into a guaranteed victim.
So the only way you can stay positive and focused is to break your aversion to “strange” foods (as long as they’re not poisonous!) and nourish your body any way you can. The stronger you are (physically and mentally), the better the chances to overcome the crisis in a shorter time.
I’ll be back next week with more psychological techniques to survive extreme temperatures and fight off fatigue. Until next time, stay safe!
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