As I write this I think about another event in our country that has occurred leaving us all shaken and disturbed. The massacre in Las Vegas has affected us all and our feelings of safety. I woke up last night thinking I wanted to write a few thoughts as to simple things we might do to help ease some of our anxiety as we go through this tragedy in our country.
Consider incorporating some of these simple strategies to ease your anxiety.
- Limit your TV, Computer & Cell Phone as to the Amount of Reply of Information You Take In About a Tragedy. Watching images over and over are not helpful for us. Hearing the same information repeatedly heightens our anxiety. It adds to the feelings of overwhelm. When we limit and watch to catch up and then move away from this it is reasonable. But watching TV for 3 or 4 hours in the evening on a news channel is not. It is normal that we want to know why and how did this happen and it can help us put this into some kind of perspective. But watching and flooding ourself is not helpful. In addition, consider turning off or reducing your alerts on your phone. Otherwise you are constantly in a state of distress or high alert. This can make a big difference in how we feel.
- Choose Compassion, Love and Hope over Anger, Criticism, and Despair. We cannot choose what happens to us or others but we can choose our response. And yes we are going to feel as we feel and it is good to acknowledge that in ourself. And honor those feelings. But as time unfolds we can make a choice to focus on what we are seeing that is happening that gives us faith and hope in the human response of those wishing to help each other and be there for one another.
- Take Positive Action When Possible. When something bad happens, taking some positive action can help to make us feel better. We are contributing and helping our fellow human beings. This can give us some sense of control. An example of this is to contribute to help a victims fund. Or volunteer to give blood. It may be to simply pray for or send positive thoughts to those in need.
- Feel and Express Gratitude for Those Who Have Acted as Responders to Help. When we are in a state of gratitude we feel more hopeful and less anxious. Acknowledging blessings among the tragedy is a helpful thing to do and can help us feel more positive.
- Stay in the Present as Much as Possible. When we center as much of our time as possible in the moment we don’t worry and stress about the past and the future. Yes we must plan and organize and look into our future to create what we want. But when we are anxious it can help to stay and be in the present.
- Remind Yourself You are Safe Throughout the Day. The reptilian part of our brain has us on high alert from primitive times when survival was more challenging than today. If you add current worry or anxiety to that, you are not going to feel very safe. So one strategy that Dr.Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Hardwiring Happiness, likes to promote is to remind yourself through out the day that you are safe. Doing a bit of re-wiring in the primitive reptilian part of our brain. So when you have a time when you are feeling calm and safe, let that really sink in for a bit. Internally tell yourself you are safe. Let that feeling just sit with you putting some focus on it. This will help you have more times of feeling safe and be able to return to that feeling more easily.
There are many things we can do to lessen anxiety, but the above strategies are some that can specifically be helpful in times of tragedy within our world. Here is to more feelings of love, hope & gratitude and less anxiety and worry.
Photo Credit: The Law of Attraction Cards by Hicks.
Professional Disclosure: This blog is offered as educational information and is not offered as professional therapeutic services. This is not intended to serve as treatment. For professional help contact your local mental health professional. Strom Individual and Family Therapy is not liable for any action or non action you take in regard to this article.