What Should You Do on 9/11? Tell Someone Where You Were.

Many of us need to share where we were on 9/11, and telling our story may be the best way for us to heal.


When talking with others about the events of September 11th, there is a strong tendency to want to share our story. Everyone remembers where there were, what they were thinking, and the sequence of events that transpired. It’s been nearly 15 years, but the memories are forever imprinted in our minds, still fresh despite the passing of time. And when we get together, when we talk about 9/11, we are compelled to recount our experience in detail and hear the experiences of our friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. Why do we do this; why do we need to talk about it; and why is it so important that we do? It’s in our makeup.

When we as a tribe, as a nation, as a people undergo a collective trauma, the need to express our emotions and achieve a secure connection is shared, universal.

Our ancestors had an advantage over the taller, bigger-brained Neanderthals: the ability to form groups and socialize. By banding together, we had a greater chance of survival than going at it alone. As our brains developed over the next several thousand years, new sections at the front of the brain started to form, parts that helped us understand how to communicate, socialize, empathize, and feel compassion. Feeling like someone understands our feelings or experience is beneficial for the whole tribe.

When we personally undergo a trauma, the need to talk about it in a safe environment, to have our emotions mirrored, is paramount to the healing process.

If we're all supporting one another as a group, there is a great chance our group will be resilient. And when we personally undergo a trauma, the need to talk about it in a safe environment, to have our emotions mirrored, is paramount to the healing process. Josh Korda, a meditation teacher and expert on emotional regulation, recently wrote that “emotional connection, based on eye contact, reassuring expressions, safe, reassuring embraces, are as essential to psychological health as food and exercise is to the body.”

When we as a tribe, as a nation, as a people undergo a collective trauma, the need to express our emotions and achieve a secure connection is shared, universal. Repressing our feelings leads to anxiety that comes out in the form of insomnia or panic attacks, but acknowledging our anxiety and holding it lets us process it. The need many of us have to share our 9/11 story is a healthy and human response to tragedy. So if someone needs to talk about it, listening to them might help you both as we still struggle, years later, to make sense of the senseless. It may even help the resiliency of our tribe.

***

Lori Chandler is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, NY, which is the most unoriginal sentence she has ever written. You can look at her silly drawings on Tumblr, Rad Drawings, or read her silly tweets @LilBoodleChild. Enough about her, she says: how are you?

Photo courtesy of Anadolu Agency / Getty Contributor

Trusting your instincts is lazy: Poker pro Liv Boeree on Big Think Edge

International poker champion Liv Boeree teaches decision-making for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to make decisions with the clarity of a World Series Poker Champion.
  • Liv Boeree teaches analytical thinking for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

7 essential Eastern philosophy books

Discover the holistic and all-encompassing philosophies of the ancient East.

Getty Images
Culture & Religion
  • Taoist philosophy teaches its adherents the paradoxical action of non-action.
  • Over three thousand years ago, the I Ching conceptualized binary code and influenced major asian religions
  • Ram Dass and Herman Hesse synthesized western scientific and philosophic views with traditional eastern religions to inform their teachings.
Keep reading Show less

Here's when machines will take your job, as predicted by A.I. gurus

An MIT study predicts when artificial intelligence will take over for humans in different occupations.

Photo credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO / AFP / Getty Images
Surprising Science

While technology develops at exponential speed, transforming how we go about our everyday tasks and extending our lives, it also offers much to worry about. In particular, many top minds think that automation will cost humans their employment, with up to 47% of all jobs gone in the next 25 years. And chances are, this number could be even higher and the massive job loss will come earlier.

Keep reading Show less

Are you an overbuyer or an underbuyer?

One way to limit clutter is by being mindful of your spending.

Videos
  • Overbuyers are people who love to buy — they stockpile things as a result. These are individuals who are prone to run out of space in trying to store their stuff and they may even lose track of what — and how much of what — they have.
  • One way overbuyers can limit their waste, both money and space wise, is by storing items at the store, and then buy them when they really need them.
  • Underbuyers tend to go to extraordinary lengths to not buy things. They save money and do fewer errands, however, they often make do with shabby personal items. They may also, when they finally decide to go out to buy a product, go without entirely because the item may no longer be available.