Personal Strategies for Managing the Stress of 9-11.


Anniversaries of tragedies can be difficult times for many people.  For some, the anniversary of 9/11 continues to be a powerful reminder of loss.  For others, who thought they had put the tragedy behind them, the anniversary may produce unexpected anxiety or grief. The anniversary and the media replay of that day’s losses may stir strong emotions and difficult memories in many of us.  But there are ways to cope:

  • Observe the anniversary in a way that’s comfortable for you.  Connecting with others who shared your impact, getting involved in memorial activities and talking about the events of that day are all important coping strategies, but taking time to be by yourself – to think and reflect – can be helpful and healing as well.
  • Limit television and social media as much as possible.  The visual images of the losses that day can prompt especially strong reactions.  Be prepared to take a digital vacation or frequent time-outs  in and around the anniversary to minimize or all together avoid these visual triggers.
  • If you start to feel overwhelmed, talk with a friend, family member, or your AFA EAP.  Often, talking about your fears and feelings is enough to relieve stress and realize that other people share your feelings.  Taking action is a sign of strength and self-awareness.
  • Recall other times you’ve experienced strong emotions.  Identify which coping strategies have worked for you in the past, and use them.
  • Don’t compare yourself to how others around you appear to be dealing with the September 11th anniversary.  Everyone experiences and copes with stress differently.  Try not to judge people’s emotions by their outside appearance.
  • If you have strong feelings that haven’t or won’t go away, seeking help from a professional may prove useful.  Your AFA EAP can provide you with referrals.
  • Share this information with a flying partner who may be struggling with the upcoming anniversary.

However you choose to structure your day this September 11th or however it just naturally unfolds, please remember that your AFA EAP committee representatives welcome being a part of it. We’re just a phone call away. 

Please call AFA EAP at 1-800-424-2406 for assistance. Or contact your local AFA EAP committee listed at