Paris Eiffel Tower

Anxiety About Terrorism: How to Manage Your Fear

Sometimes the news is just plain scary. 

For most everyone, events of terror shake our foundations and change the way we view our safety and well-being. That’s the point of terror.  Anxiety happens to everyone, some more than others.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t worry and let my mind move into the “what if’s”.  Any good worrier can move easily from scenario to scenario, each one worse than the other. 

Worry can be a gutter ball of a thought that always moves us to the negative, the scary and the catastrophic.  This “catastrophizing” can be no joke.  Here are some strategies to manage your anxiety about terrorism, if you find yourself in a dark and negative place over events in the world or just your own corner of it.

  1. Stay In The Day 
    First, stay in the day, the “what if’s are all about things you can’t control. Try to learn when you are doing this and listen for your voice saying “what if”.  That doesn’t mean don’t plan or strategize if you need to, but doing the “what if’s” is that same as spinning and going nowhere.  When you find it happening, remind yourself to only focus on the here and now…the things you can control.  The Serenity Prayer is great for calling you back to helpful thinking.
  1. Consider The Odds
    Another helpful strategy is to consider the odds.  With all the chaos in the world people are still living long, productive and reasonably happy lives, putting one foot in front of the other.  Odds are that things we do every day like driving, working, or even eating a sandwich can be dangerous, and more likely to affect us than an act of terror in our town.  
  1. Find Comfort in Connecting
    Lastly, in uncertain times people often find great comfort connection to those things that bring their lives meaning; faith, family and interests. Don’t worry alone.  Share your concerns and allow others to help.  Some people, both children, and adults, sometimes find that they can’t stop the spinning “What if’s… the Gutterball Thoughts… or the Catastrophizing.  That’s exactly when a counselor can help.  Everyone worries, but the worries don’t need to control your life.

Author: Luanne Starr Rhoades, LCPC, LADC, CCS, Health Affiliates Maine

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