How to overcome anxiety and fear after mass shootings

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Over the past few weeks, it seems that almost every day Americans get regular mass shootings. The video above: how to talk to children about mass violence and hate crimes. blur together. This feeling is familiar. We’ve been here before, and if our recent history suggests we’ll be here again. And while it may seem that you and your family are numb from headlines about mass shootings, it is very possible that you are not. Many people probably experience the stress and even suffering associated with each event every day. So, it is worth asking how we take care of ourselves and our loved ones in these emotionally shaky times. Here are some ideas from experts: normalize our fears It is normal to fear in times of uncertainty, instability and violence, says clinical psychologist Alexander Solomon, clinical associate professor at Northwestern University and host of the podcast “Revision of Love”. Fear, she said, is a perfectly normal and expected reaction to such events. Psychotherapist Kelly Kitley, author of My Self: An Autobiography of Survival and mother of four, agreed with Solomon, saying families are giving a very fine needle here. . On the one hand, we should not try to avoid talking about peer violence or media coverage. On the other hand, we do not want to sit in fear. Feelings of fear make sense, but we also need to be aware of feelings of excessive fear – or that our children feel this way. Check yourself and your kids. If fear is significantly interfering with your life, consider some of the following interventions to help alleviate your anxiety or your family’s fears. Opportunities for Communication Many of us would like to protect our children from some of these disturbing headlines, but with wide access our children need to be informed, these are no longer reasonable expectations, Kitley said. Mass shootings are devastating events, but they give families the opportunity to have meaningful conversations about broad social issues, including the opportunity to talk about security and race. For example, her 10-year-old girl recently asked Kitley, “Why are people even allowed to buy guns?” A healthy discussion ensued about social issues and security in different races and demographics that Kitley and her child may never have dealt with. It is also important to note that our children need to express their opinions and be heard. We need to be open to communicating with children, even if what they need to express does not match our feelings or beliefs, Solomon added. In times of difficulty children need to be listened to, not just in order to correct and redirect any errors in thinking or facts. Katie Cassani Adams, an associate professor of sociology at Dominican University in the Chicago subway and author of the recently published book Zen Parenthood: Caring for Yourself and Our Children in an Unpredictable World, adds that it’s important to remember the good people involved. ensuring the safety of us all. Remind yourself and your children that despite the fact that we see reports of violence every day, this type of violence remains relatively rare, according to a 2020 study published in the journal Criminology & Public Policy, which cites a report by RAND about the mass shootings in the United States. And remember that heroes, helpers and problem solvers are always present. This statement gives hope, a rare commodity in such times. Know your facts. Solomon shared some thoughts on the racial elements of these tragic events. She believes that the challenge for parents and caregivers in families is to be sober, direct and age-appropriate about the realities and dangers of fighting black and white supremacy. ”Like shooting white against mass shootings,” she said. “Parents of young white men especially need to keep an eye on online activity. We know the groups are targeting young white guys for the purpose of radicalization. “It’s not about making someone feel guilty or bad about being white, she said. Pay attention to how you get information It’s important to be informed about what is happening day by day, but remember that news of mass shootings can be staggering for your family.To limit the anxiety you and your children may feel, turn off the news for at least a while, Kitley suggested Remember that you need to spend time in the family, doing things and playing games. cultivate moments of joy, fun and relaxation.Don’t miss the good things.This is an important time of year for many families: proms, graduations, graduation, family vacations and other tips oral rites. Kitley recommended focusing on what lies ahead. To maintain a sense of well-being, don’t just avoid headlines – enjoy these important events. Some sense of normalcy and joy is crucial in order to survive times of social unrest. Join the positive changes. In fact, a 2020 meta-analysis conducted by the Psychological Bulletin found that helping others improves our own emotional well-being is a significant benefit for participation. So get your family to make a donation, organize a march or do something else in an effort to curb violence in this country. As Kitley said, sometimes taking action and participating can help you feel empowered to be a part of something. Psychologist John Duffy practices in Chicago. Specializes in working with teens, parents, couples and families.

The last few weeks, it seems almost every day Americans handle another mass shooting.

Video above: How to talk to children about mass violence and hate crimes

Over time, it may seem that the number of victims, cities and circumstances are eroding together. This feeling is familiar. We’ve been here before, and if our recent history testifies to that, we’ll be here again.

And while it may seem that you and your family are dumbfounded by headlines about mass shootings, it is very likely that this is not the case. Many people probably experience the stress and even suffering associated with each event every day. So, one should ask how we take care of ourselves and our loved ones in these emotionally shaky times.

Here are some ideas from experts:

Normalize our fears

According to clinical psychologist Alexandra Solomon, an associate professor at Northwestern University’s clinical faculty and host of the “Revision of Love” podcast, this is a normal fear in times of uncertainty, instability and violence. According to her, fear is a completely normal and expected reaction to such events.

Psychotherapist Kelly Kitley, author »My Self: An Autobiography of Survival“and the mother of four, agreed with Solomon, saying that here families give a very fine needle. On the one hand, we should not avoid talking about peer violence or media coverage. On the other hand, we do not want to sit in fear.

Feelings of fear make sense, but we also need to be aware that we feel overly fearful – or that our children feel that way. Check yourself and your kids. If fear is significantly interfering with your life, consider some of the following interventions to help alleviate your anxiety or your family’s fears.

Connectivity

Many of us would like to protect our children from some of these disturbing headlines, but with our children’s wide access to information, it’s no longer a reasonable expectation, Kitley said.

Mass shootings are devastating events, but they give families the opportunity to have meaningful conversations about broad social issues, including the opportunity to talk about security and race. For example, her 10-year-old girl recently asked Kitley, “Why are people even allowed to buy guns?” A healthy discussion ensued about social issues and security in different races and demographics that Kitley and her child may never have dealt with. It is also important to note that our children need to express their opinions and be heard.

We need to be open to communicating with our children, even if what they need to express does not match our feelings or beliefs, Solomon added. In times of difficulty children need to be listened to, not just corrected and redirected to any errors in thinking or facts.

Katie Cassani Adams, adjunct professor of sociology at Dominican University in the Chicago subway area and author of a recently publishedZen Parenting: Taking Care of Yourself and Your Children in an Unpredictable World“, adds that it is important to remember the good people involved in the safety of us all. Remind yourself and your children that although we see reports of violence every day, this type of violence remains relatively rare, according to 2020 study published in the journal Criminology & Public Policy on cit RAND Corporation Report about the mass shootings in the United States.

And remember that heroes, helpers and problem solvers are always present. This statement gives hope, a rare commodity in such moments.

Know your facts

Solomon shared some thoughts on the racial elements of these tragic events. She believes that the challenge for parents and caregivers in families is to be sober, direct and age-appropriate regarding the realities and dangers of fighting the supremacy of blacks and whites.

“I want parents in white families to deliberately talk about many of them as the executions of pro-race supporters over mass executions,” she said. “Parents of young white men especially need to keep an eye on online activity. We know the groups are targeting young white guys for radicalization.”

It’s not about making someone feel guilty or bad about being white, she said.

Pay attention to getting the information

It’s important to be informed about what’s happening day by day, but remember that news of mass shootings can be staggering for your family. To limit the anxiety you and your children may feel, turn off the news for at least a while, Kitley suggested.

Don’t forget to create a normal time for the family by doing things and playing games. During severe stress a certain degree of normalcy will provide the sense of balance that your family needs. Solomon said families should focus on each other and nurture moments of joy, fun and relaxation.

Don’t miss the good stuff

This is an important time of year for many families: proms, graduations, graduations, family vacations and other joyous ceremonies. Kitley recommended focusing on the good things that are right in front of us.

To maintain a sense of well-being, don’t just avoid headlines – enjoy these important events. Some sense of normalcy and joy is crucial in order to survive times of social unrest.

Get involved in positive change

Families are best off when they have the task of doing something rather than waiting for horrible events to happen. In fact, a Meta-analysis of 2020 The Psychological Bulletin magazine has shown that helping others improves our own emotional well-being, which greatly helps to get involved.

So get your family to make donations, organize a march or do something else to stop the violence in this country. As Kitley said, sometimes taking action and participating can help you feel empowered to be a part of something.

Psychologist John Duffy practices in Chicago. Specializes in working with teens, parents, couples and families.

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