“We don’t even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of tragedy, of war, of necessity, people do amazing things. The human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome.”
– Isabel Allende
In just the last few months, the news has been full of hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, floods, terrorist attacks, nuclear threats, and the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Science-fiction writer John Scalzi tweeted recently, “These aren’t the End Times, but it sure as hell feels like the End Times are getting in a few dress rehearsals right about now.”
Even those of us lucky enough to escape any personal impact from these tragedies are likely to feel scared and sad. Experts suggest numerous methods of relieving anxiety for adults as well as children.
Cut back on the news.
This doesn’t mean being completely uninformed, but stick to skimming the headlines or set a strict limit of time each day for viewing the news. Unless you follow only people who post recipes, puppy pictures and other innocuous items, you’ll need to cut back on social media, too.
Prepare for Disaster.
Prepare for natural disasters by making a disaster plan and preparing emergency kits. The Red Cross and Department of Homeland Security have a number of free resources. In addition, check out Preparing Your Home for a Disaster.
The Department of Homeland Security also offers resources for learning how to respond to an active shooter situation.
Take care of your health.
Eat healthfully, exercise, spend some time in quiet solitude, and try to get enough sleep. Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption. Meditate, pray, or work on your adult coloring book.
Talk to someone.
Reach out to friends, family and co-workers. See your doctor, therapist or religious leader for additional help.
Start a journal to reflect on your feelings. If you’re not into writing, consider drawing or painting in your journal, or even making a video journal.
Help those affected by tragedy or otherwise in need of help.
Donate cash if you can. If you can’t, volunteer your time, if you live near enough to the tragedy. Look for ways to help out in your own community.
Look for the good in the world.
Keep an eye out for good when you’re reading about tragedies. Take a cue from Mr. Rogers’ mother, who told him, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Also make an effort to look for good in your own life and your community. Consider beginning a formal gratitude practice.