Managing Traumatic Stress: Coping with Terrorism
Terrorism threatens a society by instilling fear and helplessness in its citizens. It seeks to hold a society or government hostage by fear of destruction and harm.
Lately, it’s difficult to turn on the television or log on to social media without seeing news of a terrorist attack or another traumatic situation. When terrorist attacks occur (i.e., Orlando, Paris, Brussels), it is easy to feel overwhelmed and slide into either depression or anxiety mode. However, there are coping techniques people can use to help deal with the traumatic stress (from National Mental Health Association).
- Talk about it. Encourage others to share their perspectives. Sharing feelings with friends, classmates, professors, advisors and family helps people work through their emotions. Talking with others relieves stress and helps people realize that they are not alone with their feelings.
- Take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest and exercise. Do things that you find relaxing and soothing. Remember to eat nutritious foods. Limit your exposure to media reports and images of terror. Avoid excessive drinking and risk-taking activities. Try to maintain your usual routines.
- Stay connected. Maintain contact with friends and family. Make plans to visit family or others who can offer reassurance. If you can’t visit them in person, increase your contact through phone calls and emails.
- Ask for help. If you feel overwhelmed by events, remember that it’s not a sign of weakness. Talk with a trusted friend, family member or counselor. Use on campus free resources, such as the Counseling and Testing Center.
If you have strong feelings that won’t go away, or if you’re troubled for longer than four to six weeks, you may want to seek professional help. Being unable to manage your responses to a crisis and to resume your regular activities may be a symptom of depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. People who have existing mental health challenges and those with a history of trauma may want to check in with a mental health care professional. Help is available. You don’t have to deal with this alone.
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