When man-made or natural disaster strikes a city, nation, or continent, the world seems to stop, distance becomes relative, and most people are impacted in some way. In the wake of tragedy, it’s common to experience fear, anger, uncertainty, confusion, apathy, and a wide range of difficult emotions. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and remember that all responses are normal, especially in the aftermath of abnormal events. While most questions remain unanswered and recovery takes time, it is helpful to seek connection and support through professional, social, and/or personal resources.
The fast pace of student life can leave little time to reflect on national tragedies. To counter this, try finding campus talks on such events or support groups. Even bringing up national crises in the classroom can help students relate to each other and be more likely to learn from the event than just witness it. Also, don’t feel guilty about going about your normal routine following an event. Maintaining a sense of normalcy and active lifestyle is a great way of upholding a healthy psyche.
College-aged adults are often looked towards by younger siblings, peers, end even older generations as a measure of progress and light. Make yourself available to talk with friends and family and try to engage in constructive conversation with them. It also doesn’t hurt to remind them you care about them. If you show you have the strength to cope with a difficult situation and maintain your stability, you’ll help yourself and inspire others to do the same. Volunteering, another outward coping technique, is also a helpful method for healing.
Be cognizant of the indirect ways your unresolved feelings may be surfacing in your life. These tragedies evoke a sense of helplessness and inner discord that may show up as irritability, anxiety, and instability in emotions.
Try not to rush to conclusions following an event and instead let your reactions develop as they come. It helps to write things down, and as days or weeks pass, you may notice responses and feelings change. If you have a spiritual outlet, it may be helpful to consult for guidance and support. And if you still find yourself at odds with a crisis, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help.
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