Second-Hand Tragedy's Toll on Mental Health

Second-Hand Tragedy's Toll on Mental Health

Second-Hand Tragedy's Toll on Mental Health

Reading or listening to news accounts of significant disasters and mass devastation can harm your mental health. For example, the recent mass shootings; natural catastrophes like hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis; the overload of terror attacks happening around the world -- any of these, no matter how distantly withdrawn from your home, can negatively affect your emotional well-being and overall mental health. People long to feel secure in daily life, but hearing comprehensive news reports of tragic events repeatedly results in genuine biological and emotional responses. The term for the sensation is vicarious trauma. These responses are common and expected in the face of circumstances that are usually beyond a person's ability to process healthily. However, destructive events of this volume make a person doubt their safety and cause fear about whether this may happen to them or the ones they love.

Physical responses can often include nausea, fear, dizziness, and headaches. Some people encounter uncontrollable emotional eruptions, irritability, and heightened feelings of rage, while others experience trouble resting, bad dreams, and complications relaxing due to inflated anxiety. These signs do not personify physically or mentally based on the feelings being encountered but derive from how someone reacts. Rejecting one's feelings, hiding from them by laboring longer hours, or depending on alcohol or drugs to dull them away keeps an individual from validating and accepting the emotions for what they are.

A straightforward and constructive way to react to this temporary psychological condition is to focus on critical tasks. Getting plenty of rest, following a predictable schedule, consuming healthy meals, and alternating movement and respite can help manage transient anxiety and despair. However, it is also crucial to remember that though some stress is expected with vicarious trauma, extended spans of anxiety and depression demand professional help to fix it. Orlando Thrive Therapy offers individual therapy in Orlando for times like this to support you in getting back to a more balanced and healthy frame of mind.

If feeling extremely anxious, try a period of self-care. Taking a hot bath, reading an engaging book, watching your favorite satire, listening to pleasing music, or even permitting some tears to fall can assist you with relieving some of the fear. In addition, it can be valuable to spend time with others and converse about what you're sensing. Often in times of catastrophe, you'll find that other people are experiencing comparable feelings and responses and are often enthusiastic about discussing them. Beginning or expanding volunteer work can be incredibly rewarding and useful in soothing anxiety. Assisting others also helps you, as your humanitarianism helps to make the planet a better place for everyone. Being adversely impacted by a human tragedy is a standard reaction. When it occurs, recognize the emotions that come to the surface and concentrate on something that makes you feel secure and joyful. If you or a loved one is having a problem rebounding from vicarious trauma, visit us at and make an appointment for individual therapy in Orlando with a counselor to start healing and discover a sense of well-being.

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Heather Oller

Heather Oller is the owner and founder of Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching, and Counseling. She is a licensed counselor and a family mediator who has over 23 years of dedicated work as a professional in the mental health field. Through her company's mission, she continues to pave the way for future therapists, and their clients, who want a higher quality of life....and who want to thrive, rather than just survive. You can contact Orlando Thrive Therapy at (407) 592-8997 for more information.