Coping With Tragedy

I had a different blog scheduled for today, but I thought I would be remiss if I didn't address the recent tragedies that occurred in Chicago, Dayton, and El Paso this weekend. To those personally affected by the tragic events, I am keeping you in my thoughts. Keep taking care of yourself and others as we go forward. Love and hope will always conquer hate.

Do what you can and care for yourself; that’s the ultimate take away.

I also wanted to provide you with ways to cope when an event happens that overwhelms our system and erodes our feelings of safety. Now, I give these realizing that when you are overwhelmed following a tragedy, it could be overwhelming to do ALL of these. Do what you can and care for yourself; that's the ultimate take away.

  • Play Tetris. If you're experiencing some flashbacks or continuing to re-envision the traumatic event, it can be beneficial to play a pattern based game. Yes, it sounds odd, and as I've shared in a past post on the benefits of play; playing Tetris or a game such as Candy Crush disrupts the process that the brain goes through when filing away memories. That post also has sources and research articles on this topic

  • Reach out to supports. Talk to the people in your life with whom you have a positive relationship. Supports could be a relative, a friend, or a trusted co-worker. Connect with the people in your life who help you feel safe, provide comfort, and lighten your mood. This sense of community and people who "have your back" so to speak, is preventative and helps build resilience.

  • Continue to care for yourself and your resources. By this, I mean to continue to eat, sleep, and shower regularly. I also mean continuing to take care of the resources in your life that decrease your overall stress, this could be maintaining bill payments, continuing to care for your mode of transportation, take care of your home, etc. That same study that I linked in #2 also shares that maintaining "baseline resources" was helpful as it decreased overall stress.

  • Begin a gratitude journal. Each day write down three healthy things that made you feel positive and why they made you feel positive. You'll benefit the most from this if you put some thought into it. For example writing something such as "Spent time with my cat because she makes me happy" isn't going to be as effective as writing "I enjoyed spending 30 minutes on the couch petting my cat because she is pretty, I like the feel of her fur, and her purring calms me down."

Keep some of these practices in mind when you come up against feelings of overwhelm and also reach out to a licensed professional, we are here to help!

Play is Necessary
Mental Health After a Tragedy: Lessons from Katrina

Remain Hopeful,