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Is Your Business Suffering From Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Copyright (c) 2005-2021

How in the heck do you run a business in the face of disaster? It seems heartless to focus on growing a business when an entire city has been flooded, and thousands have been killed in the blink of an eye.

It's only now, days later, that I am starting to taste exactly what happened on the Gulf Coast from hurricane Katrina. I spent all night, from dusk until dawn Sunday, in a Sufi prayer retreat that was focused on asking for help and mercy for the people affected by the storm. That evening, our traditional donations to the poor went mostly to help victims of Katrina.

When I launched Heart of Business, it was September, 2001. Yup, right after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. And I was roundly, and rightly, chastised by my readers for sending out my launch email right after that disaster.

It was a bad mistake on my part. I know why I did it: partly inspiration, I had been excited about the launch for a few weeks, and partly out of fear, I didn't have another job, and I wanted to jump into it.

I know many of you may be in a similar position- a big disaster hits, and so your sales slow down, but the bills don't. The gas company, or the phone company, doesn't say, "Well, there's been a big disaster, so we'll give everyone a month's reprieve."

If your business has done well, and gotten over the hump, you may have a few weeks, or months, of financial cushion that you can afford to donate money and volunteer. I believe that it's really important to be selfless in these moments, and to give more than is comfortable, when so many are suffering so badly. We gave more than was comfortable ourselves.

You have a business to run, and bills to pay, and people to help. But, your heart is numb from the disaster and you don't have the -oomph- to promote your business.

Before Heart of Business, I was a paramedic on an emergency ambulance for eight years, and I was also a trained member of the Critical Incident Debriefing Response Team for my county- the ones who came in to support the emergency workers who faced very traumatic situations, out of the realm of the "normal" emergencies. I have personally been the chief medical officer for multiple casualty incidents, and have been through the beginning stages of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder a few times myself.

One of the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is repeatedly seeing images from the incident in our minds. Watching television of horrific events can help to create similar symptoms to post traumatic stress disorder in you. It's my belief that most of the US, and anyone else who immersed themselves in watching news reports of this tragedy, is in the grip of PTSD to some degree.

Dealing with PTSD, and continuing to work your business requires a great deal of gentleness. It's not heartless to work on your business- continuing your routine is actually helpful to the healing process. However, not acknowledging what's going on can also increase your distress.

I assume that your networks have already flooded you with suggestions on how to donate and volunteer to help the victims of the disaster. If not, start with the American Red Cross.

What I want to give you are some practical steps on how to care for yourself and your business during times of disaster, when you are affected from a distance, and you aren't in the middle of the swirl.

1. Be gentle with yourself.

This may include taking a nap and resting- strong emotions put a high stress on the body and are exhausting. Napping, taking a bath with epsom salts, giving yourself a slightly relaxed work schedule, can help a lot.

2. Keep up your routine.

The sheer overwhelm from an event like this can bring up helplessness and despair. Stopping everything, and sitting around watching television, or not being active, can increase your sense of despair and helplessness. Keeping your regular work routine helps to focus you and give you a sense of purpose so you can't slip into paralyzing depression.

3. Exercise and water.

Vigorous aerobic exercise, or even just taking a quick-paced walk, can help clear toxins out of your blood that are released when you are under emotional stress. Drinking water and exercise will add greatly to your sense of well-being. Avoid excessive sugar or alcohol- these tend to excerbate feelings of isolation and despair, even in relatively small quantities.

4. Limit your television watching.

Keep yourself informed, by all means. But, once you notice that the reporters are repeating themselves, and you've seen the same video clip a couple of times, turn the television off. You can tune back in later in the day, or the next day. The fewer times you see images like floating dead bodies, the less stress you go through. Even just typing "floating dead bodies" brought up memories of past calls I ran as a paramedic, and I can feel the stress and sadness run through my body again.

5. Connect to your heart, connect with spirit.

Prayer, Remembrance, connection to spirit is critical in times like this. Be honest and sincere with your feelings- if you are angry or despairing, bring those to God, spirit, Higher Power. Be in an honest dialogue with Essence. And, don't forget to listen with Remembrance to any answers that might come to you.

6. Wait before sending any commercial messages.

If you are writing promotional material, write it! But, read it a few extra times, and wait a little longer before sending it. Show it to a trusted friend or two to help make sure that your messages are coming from the heart, and you don't say anything you might regret.

7. Connect with others.

Isolation increases despair. Connecting with friends and loved ones helps to remind us that we aren't alone in this. And, volunteering to help can make a big difference- a heart in action is a heart inspired.

As a former paramedic, I've seen a lot of tragedy first-hand, and I've been inspired countless times by the incredible compassionate human response to pain and loss. As a current business owner, I am inspired by the power of the individual to affect change.

Bottom-line: donate, volunteer, help, keep running your business, be gentle, and care for yourself.

I pray that you, your family, and your loved ones are safe and cared-for.

My very best to you and your business.


About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Mark Silver is the founder of Heart of Business, and the author of "Unveiling the Heart of Your Business: How money, marketing and sales can deepen your heart, heal the world, and still add to your bottom line." He has helped hundreds of people in small business succeed without losing their heart. Mark integrates 1500 years of spiritual tradition with down-to-earth, no-nonsense business practices. Get his free workbook, Getting to the Core of Your Business, among other free resources, online: http://www.heartofbusiness.com

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