Dr. Heidi Horsley and Dr. Gloria Horsley give insights about taking care of yourself and your loved ones after a traumatic loss.
It’s not just the loss of those we love that can cause an emotional impact on all of us. The recent traumatic events at festivals, shopping centers, concerts, and restaurants, including mass shootings and stabbings, have generated a heavy feeling of sadness. These events have also invoked fear and concern among those of all ages.
On a recent podcast, Dr. Heidi Horsley and I shared some insights about taking care of yourself and your loved ones after a traumatic event.
Despite the concern, anxiety, and stress that you, those around you, and your kids may be feeling in light of the events in Gilroy, Dayton, El Paso, and now throughout Orange County, California, there are actions you can take to counteract those triggers:
Take a news break.
Step away from the media stories about these events on social media and television. All they do is show these traumatic events, over and over, which doesn’t help you create a calm environment for you or your children.
Plus, children often can’t separate the repeated media footage, thinking that these are all new shootings.
Help your kids by helping yourself.
Your children look to you and your response to shape their own attitudes and responses. When they see that you are calm, it may also quell their anxiety. It’s important to address these events with them and reassure them that these traumatic events are only committed by a few people.
If they seem upset about school shooter drills, talk to them about why the school wants to do these to keep kids safe rather than over concern that it’s likely to happen there.
Conduct an inventory of where you are with grief.
If you have suffered a loss in your own life, then these traumatic events may trigger other emotions. Conduct your own inventory to see where you are in your grief process. Take the time to reach out for grief support if these recent events have triggered an elevated level of sadness where you might need to talk to someone about your emotions.
Get moving rather than sit with your anxiety.
The more we sit with anxiety, the larger it can grow. That’s why the better strategy is to get out and move by walking in Nature or exercising. Movement gets you to focus on your physical state and has been proven to help rebalance your emotions. Even if you are up and cleaning the house, it’s still movement.
Altogether, it’s the movement that also produces a feeling that you are accomplishing something, especially when these traumatic events often leave us feeling like we have no control over situations.
Look for the good people.
In traumatic times, seek out the good people who jumped in as heroes or who have set up fundraising efforts for the victims and their families. We can’t let a few people ruin our perspective on the world. In reality, there are many more good people out there doing positive things. Give them your focus.
Do something that helps.
Get involved by sending money to one of the organizations set up to help after these traumatic events. You can also reach out and assist other organizations by volunteering. Doing social good is one way to win control back over these bad people and dilute their actions.
Be grateful for the people around you, the support system available, and the things that make your life so enriching. If it’s a struggle to feel grateful during these trying times, try keeping a journal. The act of writing these positive things down, reading them, and reflecting on what they mean can help generate this gratitude.
Here to Help
Heidi and I are here to lend our support for everyone out there who is struggling with these traumatic events. We are spreading hope through our conversations and content. Come join us on this journey of hope.
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