How To Cope...

With all the bad news coming at us lately --tragedies like the shooting in Las Vegas Sunday and all of the destruction from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria-- have you gotten to the point where you want to tune it all out keep going back? NBC News says there's a scientific reason for that. The tragedies we witness --whether it's in person, like a car accident or on TV with wall-to-wall media coverage-- trigger our innate survival instincts. Our brain's amygdala kicks into gear, sends signals to our frontal cortex and we become fully focused on determining if the disaster you're witnessing is a threat to you personally. It's a classic fight or flight response.
   But once we determine that what we're witnessing is not an immediate threat, we tend to stay fixated. The reason: Psychologically negative events activate our brains more than positive ones. That gives you a way to ask yourself: 'If I was in that situation, what would I do? How would I respond? Disasters also stimulate our innate human empathy, triggering our ability to feel for the victims and look for ways to help.

How to cope with the Las Vegas mass shooting, from Mashable.com
   --Take stock of your emotions: Whether you were there, know someone who was or witnessed the scary aftermath through the news and social media, traumatic events can affect everyone emotionally. Events like this can remind people of past loss, even if that death had nothing to do with gun violence. That's normal. If you have some connection to the shooting --even a simple connection like you once visited the Vegas strip or Mandalay Bay or you're simply a fan of JASON ALDEAN and country music, it's normal to feel anxiety, despair, grief, and detachment. 

   --Get serious about your self-care: Whatever you're feeling, do what you need to do to cope. Turn off the TV or log off social media for a break. Take a walk, get some exercise, write in a journal, listen to music. 
   --Do something to help others. Events like these create overwhelming emotions, and it can be hard to know what to do next. Some people do big grand gestures --make a big donation, or lobbies for new laws. If that's too overwhelming, start by focusing on a small act of kindness --even if it's not directly connected to the shooting in Las Vegas. Make a donation locally, help one of the many hurricane relief funds, launch a food drive or donate blood in your community. Doing for others not only counter-balances the bad, it helps you personally by counteracting stress hormones you may feel.

   --Reach out to friends and family. Tragedies can make us feel alone, isolated, and helpless. Counteract that by reaching out to friends and family. You don't have to talk about what happened. Just acknowledging that it's been a rough week with an offer to see a movie or chat on the phone. Emotionally, it can help reaffirm important your bonds with other people.
   --Get help if you need it. If the Las Vegas shooting is interfering with your ability to function day-to-day, get help from a professional. It's not silly. In fact, it can be essential if you need to talk to someone you can text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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