Everyone at Empathia is concerned for the victims, families and others affected by the mass shooting in Atlanta. For those impacted by this event, the following tips can help with the emotional turmoil you may be experiencing.
- Feeling vulnerable and insecure. Violent incidents can affect your sense of personal safety and security. You may find yourself worrying more about family members — especially children —when they are not with you.
- Fear of the unknown. Violence is a reminder that you can’t control the behavior of others. You may feel uncomfortable when you are around people you don’t know or worry about family members when they are in public places.
- Range of thoughts and feelings. Sadness, anger, guilt, frustration, and dread are all common, and you may feel more than one of these emotions. Keep in mind that some people may need to talk about the event, while others may want to avoid discussing it at all.
- Avoiding feelings. To cope with immediate stress, some people may deny their feelings. This may be a useful short-term strategy. Over time, emotions often emerge in other ways, such as physical symptoms, hyperactivity, or working too much.
- Delayed reactions. If you have suffered trauma in the past, you may re-experience your emotional responses from that event.
- Relating to the experience of those involved. You may find that you are more affected if you or someone you know was directly impacted, or if you identify in some way with a person who was involved.
If you are struggling with news of a violent incident, these steps may help:
- Expect a range of emotions. Don’t judge emotional reactions or strong feelings as right or wrong. News of violence can trigger thoughts and feelings, and everyone will react differently.
- Connect with others. Talking with friends and family is often comforting. When others come to you, listen to their concerns without judgment. This is especially important for children.
- Limit media exposure. Take breaks from news and media before it becomes overwhelming. Turn off social media, news, radio, and TV. Take a walk or engage in a relaxing activity instead.
- Be safe. Educate yourself about safety in public places. Talking about practical safety tips may help you regain a sense of control. It might reassure others, too.
Not sure how to talk to your children about events like this? Listen to our podcast episode: Talking to Children About Violence with Bob VandePol.