5 Ways to Handle Your Emotions After a Traumatic Event

Are you feeling anxious or overwhelmed with all of the news surrounding the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas? Here are some things you can do.

On Sunday night, a gunman opened fire from high above the world-famous Las Vegas Strip as more than 22,000 people danced and sang along to Jason Aldean’s performance at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. At least 59 concertgoers were killed and more than 500 others were injured. Now known as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, articles, videos and photographs are surfacing every few hours with information about the event.

It’s hard not to check your favorite news site or refresh your Twitter page continuously for updates when a lingering questions is, “How could this happen?” Many just want answers, but saturating yourself with the news can cause you to feel anxious and overwhelmed. As the news develops, U.S. citizens, as well as many individuals worldwide, are feeling an impact.

It is completely normal to feel impacted by any traumatic event, even if you weren’t there and don’t know anyone who was directly affected. Empathy is strong and a human’s understanding of suffering may lead to mental or even physical feelings of trauma. Although you may not have physically been in that incident at the time, your experience is your own and that doesn’t stop symptoms of traumatic stress from appearing.

So how are you supposed to handle these emotions?

1. Don’t ignore your feelings. We all process our emotions in our own way, but it’s important to be in touch with what you’re feeling and do something about it rather than bottling it up. Consider reaching out to a family member or a friend that you trust or a medical professional. You may find that those close to you feel the same way, thus helping the both of you. A medical professional, such as a psychologist, can help you process your feelings and provide techniques to ease your mind. Explain to others how you’re relating to the event and why you feel the way you do; any worries or fears should be voiced if you feel that it’s necessary. Vocalizing your feelings is oftentimes the best way to feel relief.

2. Don’t deviate from your daily routine. Your daily routine should stay what it is: a daily routine. Keep up any exercise you regularly partake in and stick to your usual schedule to maintain a sense of control and normalcy. Visit the friends and family you may have spoken to recently about the event and do something you enjoy together. Your emotions may have you feeling more sluggish or unmotivated, but its best to beat them at their own game by keeping your mind and body active.

3. Minimize media exposure. If you feel that you’re being bombarded by the news, limit your exposure to it, whether it’s keeping your social media apps closed during the day or turning off notifications. The continuous stream of information will leave you tense and worried. If you’re feeling too disassociated at any point, pick up a newspaper or magazine to intake important information without falling into an endless pit of articles to read that you would encounter on the web.

4. Perform rhythmic motions. Whether it’s spending 30 minutes at the gym or dancing around your living room, these activities release adrenaline and endorphins that will put you or keep you in a good mood. Not only will your mind feel great, but your body will love you for it, too.

5. Volunteer your time to help others. When you have a chance, support a local organization or help someone in need. Any act of kindness will work, whether it’s packing supplies for hurricane victims, helping an elderly neighbor shop for groceries, or just holding the door for someone while you’re out and about. You’ll relieve some traumatic stress knowing there are others you can help and that it’s much appreciated.

Overall, patience is key when it comes to recovery. News about traumatic events is always being shared, so do your best to balance your intake of sad news with the things in your everyday life that you enjoy. Most importantly, make yourself the priority when dealing with feelings associated with any traumatic event.


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