By Brittany Taylor
If you’ve watched the news lately, you’re probably feeling pretty overwhelmed. Mass shootings, terrorist attacks and other scary occurrences seem to be more and more frequent, like the world just keeps getting crazier by the minute.
It can be scary, can’t it? Knowing you can be going about your normal life one moment, and the next everything can change with the fizz of an incendiary device or the pop of a gun. Whenever something like this happens, whether it’s a shooting or a plane crash or a devastating fire, we hear the statistics: You’re more likely to die in an automobile accident than in incident like this. You’re more likely to get hurt crossing the street than be caught in the crossfire. Still, some girls worry. Some even feel paralyzed by fear.
That’s the thing about terrorism and tragedies—they shake you to your core. You might feel wary going about life as usual because you can’t bear to imagine what could possibly happen next. The what-ifs overwhelm reality. I know. I do it, too. I cry, I panic, I call every single person I love just to make sure they’re OK, just to make sure they know I love them. The thing is, we’re all in this together. Let’s get through this together. Here’s how I’m coping.
Take a Deep Breath
In. Out. And again, until your heart rate slows, the fear recedes, and your mind is filled with positive thoughts.
I don’t know about you, but whenever I’m confronted with horrifying news, I go into research mode. I dig for facts until I know everything…and then the tragedy and how it happened are all I can think about. But when you know too much too soon, to the point that it overpowers every other thought in your mind, it’s time to step away from the Internet or newspaper and gain some space.
Retreat to Something You Love
Preoccupation can be a good thing. When tragedy strikes, sometimes it feels like you will never smile again, never laugh, never be happy—after all, why should you be when so many are devastated? Even if it doesn’t feel like you deserve it, know that you do, and do whatever you can to capture positive feelings. Throw yourself into an activity that always lets you forget the bad things going on around you. Let yourself escape, just for a little while.
Or, be as normal as you can be. For those whose lives are directly touched by tragedy, “normal” is shattered. But for those on the periphery, who can return to our routines, I think we owe it to ourselves to do that. Be brave enough to enjoy life. Embrace your ability to keep choosing to live life to its fullest.
Talk It Out
Once you can think rationally about what happened, it might be time to say the things you’ve been thinking. Find a friend or counselor or family member to whom you can really talk, and just let it out. Talk about why you think it happened and what you think the solutions are. And if no one is there when you need to talk at 3 a.m., flip on the light, grab your journal, and write away.
Spread the Love
If you have a hunch someone else is hurting inside, lend them a shoulder. Kindness is the best gift you can give anyone, and when something tragic happens, everyone needs love and compassion.
Reprinted with permission from girlslife.com. Photo courtesy of wikimedia.org.
Faith is a powerful element, so where are you putting yours? Share your stories and tell us how you hang in there during challenging events.