The sad truth about the world is that there will probably be another news story about a horrific mass shooting.
No matter how involved you are, it’s hard not to feel personally affected.
You might not be able to stop it: Vicarious trauma is a biological reaction to traumatic events.
Dan Reidenberg, a mental health expert, says, “It is absolutely a normal human response to be affected by tragedies. Our minds and bodies respond as if we were there and, for some, that vicarious trauma is deeply impactful.”
How Does It Work?
People far from the actual tragedy can suffer vicarious trauma after widely covered events like mass shootings.
Reidenberg says, “The more we relate to a victim, the more intense the pain can be.”
Physical and emotional symptoms can result from vicarious trauma, including stress, tension, headaches, nausea, and restlessness.
Tips For Taking Care Of Yourself
Reidenberg says it’s essential to take care of your mental health after a tragedy. He offers these tips for self-care in the days ahead.
Don’t Suppress Your Feelings
Reidenberg advised you to talk about your thoughts with someone you trust.
He said, “When we are distressed by something, the more we talk about it, the better off we will be.”
Follow A Regular Schedule
Reidenberg said, “When tragic events like mass shootings in Las Vegas, Orlando, Colorado happen, we lose control in our lives and everything going on around us.”
Follow the same sleeping and eating schedules. Be early to work. Speak to your loved ones or exercise as usual.
Take Care Of Yourself
Alcohol use, drug abuse, or any other risky behavior that puts your health at risk is prohibited.
Reidenberg said, “Instead of relying on a ‘feel good’ drink, take a walk, listen to your favorite music, or get engulfed in a book you’ve been putting off.”
Don’t Forget To Help Others
Research suggests that being kind to others can make you feel better.
You can either help victims and their families directly or volunteer for a worthy cause.