By Dr. Irene Rubin
In light of recent national events, I thought it might be helpful to offer some suggestions for coping with exposure to emotionally traumatic events. When something horrible happens on a national level, it can be difficult to process our own thoughts and feelings about it while also being almost constantly in the presence of news reports, social media posts and endless opinions of others. For our own health, it is important to notice when we are becoming overwhelmed, inappropriately preoccupied and emotionally exhausted.
Here are some suggestions on things you can do if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the coverage of recent national tragedy:
Step away from the news and social media. It is absolutely important to stay informed but the ongoing repetition of the same tragic information is not healthy for anyone. Important updates will find their way to you. Step away for a little bit from the repeated news reports and the social media posts with 100s of comments and opinions. Give yourself time to take in the information in a quieter mind and without external input.
Do Something. In some ways, the worst part of a national tragedy is the feeling of helplessness. Find a way to do your part and speak your mind. Reach out to your community, participate in a vigil or a community organization event, find out if you can help. The more empowered you feel, the stronger you will feel.
Look for the good. When the news coverage and social media are all about the horrors of what one person can do to another, it is easier to overlook all the wonderful acts of kindness and positivity that are around us. Choose not to let the actions of a person or a group change your belief that we have so much to be grateful for.
Hope this helps in these difficult times.