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CNN 10

A Step Back From The Conflict. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired October 19, 2023 - 04:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hello, lovely people. I hope you are off to an awesome day. I`m Coy Wire. This is CNN 10. And for today`s show, we have a

special guest who`s going to help us learn about ourselves specifically about our brains, our thoughts and our emotions. The current conflict in

Israel and Gaza has had a deep impact on the hearts and minds of many. A lot of the images we`re seeing pop up on social media, stories we`re

hearing in the news. They`re really sad and upsetting, and the whole situation can make us feel worried, uncertain, and even angry at times

about what`s happening in our world. And those are completely understandable, justifiable, normal emotions to feel during situations like

this, but knowing that doesn`t necessarily make it any easier to deal with. So we wanted to provide you with some tools that maybe you can use for

yourself or for someone you know, who maybe is having a tough time dealing with bad news. And this might help you understand or support them better,

rise up.

It`s a privilege to introduce you now to my friend, our CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who`s here for all of us. Great to have

you with us, Doc.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Coy and a heartfelt hello to all of you as well. It`s great to be here for this

really important topic. And as Coy said, if you`ve been following the news out of Israel and Gaza, chances are, you`ve seen some pretty disturbing

images. They may be tough to process, and you may be wondering this, what happens to your stress levels when you`re exposed to this kind of violence?

Well, here`s the truth. Even if witnessing all of this from afar, it can still have an impact on your brain.

Now, seeing a lot of these intense images and reading and hearing about violence can trigger your brain`s amygdala. The amygdala is the emotional

center of your brain, remember that. It can also send what would best be described as distress signals to the rest of your brain and your body that

can cause you to feel jittery, cause you to feel anxious. You could have something like stomach aches or headaches or things that are not even

seemingly related, but are in fact caused by the disturbing images you have consumed.

So what does that all mean? And how can we protect ourselves? I spoke to an expert who knows a lot about this. He knows about kids and coping and gave

me, and I hope you as well, some great words of wisdom.

When something like this happens in the world and you are consuming the news, just like all of us are, what do you do to make sure you`re taking

care of your -- your mental health and your mindset at the same time as being an informed citizen?

DR. STEVEN MARANS, HARRIS PROFESSOR OF CHILD PSYCHOANALYSIS YALO SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: I`ve learned to know what the signals are, that when I feel my

body responding and my sense of despair increasing.

GUPTA: What are some of those signals, you know your own body well, what should people be looking for?

MARANS: I think, you know, when -- when we talk about stress, it`s a big word to describe lots of very specific reactions that we may not even

register, except that it doesn`t feel good. We may actually find ourselves sweating or feeling more antsy and -- and agitated, fidgety, not -- not

able to -- to pay attention, not able to keep our -- our eyes on -- on the ball, that`s in front of us.

GUPTA: What do you recommend for -- for young people in particular who want to be diligent about saying my mental health is important and I want to be

proactive in taking care of it.

MARANS: I think one of the first steps is to actually step back and realize what it is we share as human beings. There is strength in numbers and that

when we recognize that we are not alone. We are not the only ones who are feeling upset. And our upset is not a -- a demonstration of weakness, but

part of who we are as human beings. That actually allows for substituting, a feeling of helplessness with some very real, small, but critical ways of

taking action.

When we`re able to actually translate our vulnerability, what it is that makes us human into empathy identification with others, it actually allows

us to move from feeling isolated, to reaching out to one another, to actually reminding each other, that there are normal reactions that are not

pleasant, and that we are here for one another.

GUPTA: Here is 10 second trivia.

About how long is the Gaza Strip? A hundred miles, 25 miles, eight miles, 42 miles?

Well, Gaza is a narrow strip of land west of Israel with a population of around 2 million people. It`s around 25 miles long. And only seven miles

wide. That`s just over twice the size of Washington D.C.

While we watch this war unfold from home, there are students just like you living through this war. In fact, CNN 10 producer, Maya Blackstone spoke

with two siblings from Gaza, 11-year-old Mohammad and his older sister Afaf. More than a week ago, their family left their home in Gaza city to

stay in what they hoped was going to be a safer United Nation sanctioned hotel, which was nearby.


AFAF ALNAJJAR, GAZA RESIDENT: They moved us old to like the -- the lower floors of the building. We`re talking about 330, 350 people in the same

place. The hotel itself, the -- the windows shattered, the ceiling fell down. The last few days of staying in the hotel, we were out of drinking

water. And we were out of food.


GUPTA: On October 13th, the Israel dropped pamphlets in Gaza, urging citizens to evacuate south, but that was hard to do. In fact, it took the

siblings and their family three hours to travel just 15 miles away to their grandparents` place. And the City of Khan Yunis.


MOHAMMAD ALNAJJAR, GAZA RESIDENT: There`s a lot of stuff going on. Like the bombings they`re really loud and they`re really scary. Also the water cut

off and the electricity cut off. And that`s also pretty bad.


GUPTA: Before the war, Mohammad was in primary school, the Seventh Grade, he was excited to join the robotics club.


M. ALNAJJAR: I was like really excited because I had a lot of fun things that were going to happen. But then the war started and I couldn`t really

attend school anymore.


GUPTA: 21-year-old, the Afaf had to cancel her engagement party last week. The war has separated her now from her fiance who is staying with his own



A. ALNAJJAR: You know, the -- the -- the receipts of the engagement ring, the whole, the -- the dress. So that was -- that was pretty devastating. I

still don`t really get a hold of my fiance.


GUPTA: CNN 10 also spoke with 12-year-old Talia who lives in Holon. That`s a city in Israel, just a few miles to the south of Tel Aviv. Talia has

three older brothers. The oldest is a combat engineer in the military. In fact, he was at home celebrating the Jewish holiday Simchat Torah, when the

war began.


TALIA PANETH, ISRAEL RESIDENT: Instead of celebrating with him, our holiday or holy day, one of the holiest days during the year, he was called his

base. He had 15 minutes to get ready. I was crying. My mom was crying. I couldn`t sleep. I barely ate. Everyone, even if doesn`t know someone who`s

dead or kidnapped, knows someone, but knows someone that is dead or kidnapped. And it`s such a scary feeling. Everyone is so anxious here. You

can`t really be happy every day when living in Israel, you need to be scared for the life.


GUPTA: Talia , Afaf, Mohammad, they are all experiencing trauma.


A. ALNAJJAR: We Palestinians do not want any bloodshed. We Palestinians do not want any war. We Palestinians do not want any loss of life on both


M. ALNAJJAR: I hope that this war ends. And I also hope that maybe we could go somewhere safer.

PANETH: We are just kids. We can`t fight. We can`t do anything. It`s not a fault or of any innocent citizen, never from our side of -- or in their



GUPTA: We`ve heard from a mental health expert. We`ve heard from students living in Gaza and Israel. What about the people covering this war? Here at

CNN, we have reporters and producers and camera people on the ground, including my colleagues, Sara Sidner, she`s been reporting on the war from

Tel Aviv and Israel about 40 miles north of Gaza. And she wanted to share with all of you in class, how she and her team get their stories and what

life is really like when the cameras are off.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sara Sidner has arrived in Tel Aviv. She`s on the ground.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: I spoke with one of the family members of a hostage.

As those rockets were literally --

I`m here in Israel, on the Israel side of the border, covering the war between Israel and Hamas.

We`re in a really important place because of the equipment that you see behind me. That military equipment there, that doesn`t look like much. It

looks like kind of a rectangular box. That`s the iron dome, but it is probably the most important piece of equipment to save lives here in


No president since 1967 has recognized --

In 2012 and 13`, I lived in Jerusalem. I was here for work.

It has been pretty constant. We heard it early in the morning.

But I`ve never seen anything quite like this, where Israel has actually officially declared war.

When you`re doing coverage of a war, you don`t sleep much.

And it is pouring rain suddenly, which seemed like out of nowhere. And so when that happens, the crew has to figure out what to do. So they have

created -- just kind of creating a big thing to cover all the cameras.

And this is -- this is Tel Aviv CNN temporary headquarters.

We came in from New York. Averio (ph) and I, and my photographer came in from New York. We met with a producer who came in from London. They`re

basically a reporter that that is not on television. Their role is to help facilitate things and make sure that everything is ready and available so

that when you see me on television, all of those other things have been taken care of. So it is the best possible shot with the best possible

information that we can get to you.

60 hospital beds are now filled with victims from the Hamas attack. Mentally you prepare before you get into the country as you`re packing. So

you have to remember to get a helmet, to get a flak jacket. You have to sort of just get yourself in a very quiet place and very much pay attention

to what`s going on around you 360.

There are five incoming right now. Can you guys get me my helmet, please?

You have to do a lot of reading. You have to do a lot of studying about what`s going on, where things are happening, a and know a lot about the

country that you are in. And I don`t know about you, but I learn better when I`m there in person. And I get to see things and touch things that

feel things, and you make relationships with people. I have Israeli friends. I have Palestinian friends. I have friends who have -- have left


When you get home, and you think about what could have happened, or you think about the images that are in your head. Um, the horrible things that

you`ve seen, those things tend to stay with you for a lot longer. At least that`s what I`ve found.

So talking to -- to someone professional, talking to your colleagues, your -- your family, it is really, really important. That`s how I deal with the

intense stress that comes from this.

But while I`m on the job, I`m -- I`m really focused on what I`m doing. So writing a story or interviewing someone or -- or talking to camera about

what we`ve seen and experienced and trying to get those stories out, it helps you concentrate and it doesn`t -- it doesn`t make your stress worse.

It actually helps you lessen your stress because you have a focus and a reason to be here.


GUPTA: For today`s 10 out of 10, a lesson defined calmness. When your anxiety starts to build, it`s called paced deep breathing. Psychiatrist,

Dr. Gail Saltz taught me to take a five second inhale through the nose and then follow it with a seven second exhale through the mouth. Those extra

last two seconds of forced exhale are what actually lowers your heart rate and can immediately relax you. Do this 10 times, and it can quickly quiet

your stress response.

And that`s it for today`s special episode of CNN 10. If there are other topics you`d like to learn more about, let us know. You can add your

questions in the comments below this episode on YouTube. And before we go, today`s shout out, goes to my Alma Mater, the Novi High School Wildcats in

Novi, Michigan.

Thank you all for watching. I`m Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN`s Chief Medical Correspondent. Coy is going to be back tomorrow for a regular episode of

CNN 10.