Fear After Mass Shootings
The recent mass shootings Texas and Ohio, now being called acts of domestic terrorism, pushed many people into a state of fear. The once ordinary acts of going to get your groceries or bringing your family to a festival are now being viewed as places where you may experience harm and even death. The feeling of dread is not just felt by people within the communities affected but is being experienced by people throughout the country. These types of tragedies remind us that we are mortal and that at some point we will all experience death –which can make it feel as though the rug has been swept out from under us.
For some people life has started to feel “weird”. This can feel like being a stranger in a new place where everything is scary, or even not feeling comfortable in your own skin. Some people are experiencing racing hearts and wanting to run away when they begin to think of being unsafe. In a way they are walking around in high alert, just waiting for something bad to happen. Our bodies have a unique alarm system that is meant to go off when danger is present, but what can you do when the alarm is going off constantly? There are ways to help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and help to get our alarm system functioning efficiently.
· Talk about it. You may feel scared that talking about the fears you are having will make them worse. However, evidence suggests that in fact talking about it with others will make you feel more connected, and feeling less alone in your fears can help relieve them.
· Find your inner strength and start to feel empowered to move past the fear. Research shows that learning calming skills can help reduce anxiety. These can be as easy as taking a walk, taking moments to breath in through your nose and out through your mouth, or even focusing on listening to the sounds around you.
· Stick to your routine. Remember that while a mass shooting or other tragic event can happen, there is a greater probability that it won’t. By engaging with how you used to live you can start to shift your reality back.
· Lessen your screen time during the day, whether it be the news on T.V., Facebook or Instagram. It is easy to go down the rabbit hole of media and the horrors that people experience. Take a break and engage in the things that are happening to you in the present.
If life isn’t starting to got back to feeling normal or the feelings of being unsafe worsen then maybe it is time to seek out counseling. Our team of counselors can help you take back your life by bringing your mind and body back into balance.