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Dear Dr. Yael,

I am having such a hard time personally dealing with things going on in Israel. I am trying to have more emunah, but I am very anxious. It is very hard for me. I know I shouldn’t be looking at the news obsessively, but I am having a hard time stopping. I’m also anxious most of the day, worrying about Klal Yisrael and the soldiers, as well as the hostages. Please give me tips on how to deal with my anxiety.


An Anxious Reader


Dear Anxious Reader,

It makes a lot of sense that you are having a hard time dealing with everything that is going on now in the world. We are living in a difficult time, and I am sure that many others are also suffering from heightened anxiety and having difficulty dealing with their day-to-day life. I will share some ideas on how to manage your anxiety, and I hope that they are helpful to you and to others.

First of all, you MUST stop watching the news obsessively. This is very detrimental to your mental health and is absolutely contributing to your difficulties. Second of all, you need to allow yourself to not be okay sometimes, so that you can function for the rest of the day. This is an extreme situation and we, as a nation, are going through a very hard time. You need to validate your feelings and allow yourself to grieve and feel. On the other hand, you cannot let your anxiety take over and stop you from functioning. This is a delicate balance, but it can be achieved.

In order to deal with the anxiety you are feeling, you need to identify what you are thinking. You are likely having anxious thoughts. These thoughts are probably swimming around your mind all day and are exacerbating your anxious feelings. Once you identify your anxious thoughts, you will need to reframe them and create more logical, non-anxious thoughts, which you will use to start getting your anxiety under control. for example, if you are thinking, “ I am going to have the worst day and be anxious all day,” I want you to stop this line of thinking and replace it with, “while I may have some difficult moments today, I am going to do my best to function and be productive.” You will likely have to repeat this line over and over again until your body gets the message to calm down and is able to do so.

Because of the current situation, it is hard to say that you can just use logical thinking to change how you feel. With most anxiety, you can replace illogical, automatic thoughts, with more logical, calm thoughts; however, some of the fear and anxiety you are feeling is real! This is where bitachon and emunah come in. Spending a few minutes learning about emunah (such as studying Living Emunah with a friend, sibling, spouse, or child) can go a long way into helping you feel you are doing something and helping you feel calmer. You can even do this as a zechus (merit) for those who are in danger. You will see a huge difference in how you feel and how you see things after studying a sefer on emunah. Changing your perspective will be extremely helpful to you in this difficult time. May Hashem grant you serenity and grant all of Klal Yisrael a yeshua.

Hatzlacha with this difficult situation and if my ideas are not enough, please seek professional help so the anxiety does not get out of control.


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Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to [email protected]. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at