Tips to Deal With Exposure to Media Coverage of Traumatic Incidents
The round-the-clock media coverage of the happenings around the world, particularly the traumatic ones, has made it difficult for many people to cope with the intrusive thoughts and disturbing images from such occurrences. At times, the media coverage of a disastrous incident can be so overwhelming that people start feeling vulnerable and alienated and may even experience loss of identity.
News stories of terrorist attacks, murders, racial injustice, rapes, etc. make people feel anxious or stressed. In an effort to empathize with human sufferings, people usually put themselves at the risk of experiencing intense emotional upheavals. This vicarious traumatization or compassion fatigue caused by a person’s transformation due to empathetic engagement with the news may include symptoms like:
• exhaustion at the emotional and physical level
• feeling of irritability and anxiety
• increased stress and tendency to stay in isolation and withdrawn
• excessive confusion and depression
• frequent changes in emotions with rising disbeliefs and loss of trust
However, experts do not recommend avoidance of such events altogether as it would mean negating the reality of the world we are living in. But it is important to visualize the effects of such kind of traumatic exposure on an individual, especially those who are vulnerable to stress and find it difficult to shield themselves from any devastating consequences.
Developing resilience in the face of catastrophe and stress
To enhance well-being and to strengthen resilience in the face of trauma stress, a person can benefit by following simple techniques, such as:
• Practicing mindful meditation: One can stave off stress or stress-related health problems by performing mindful meditation. The technique involves sitting in a comfortable position and focusing on each breath, and in the process, bringing the mind in complete rhythm with the body, thus eliminating any concerns about the past or future. It can help quell anxiety symptoms in those who are prone to unproductive worries.
• Having purpose in life: In fighting with daily stress and pain, one needs to connect with values and to visualize things from a less self-centered approach. The sense of purpose in life can differ from person to person, i.e., for some people, meaningful life could be to spend time at a place of worship or to volunteer in welfare activities, while for others life’s purpose could be to tune in to the emotional and physiological responses and lead a harmonious life.
• Engaging in self-care: In most stressful situations, self-care is probably the first thing to do. In fact, it should become a habit to focus on various sensations surrounding a person, which in turn can help someone concentrate on the present moment, without drifting to the past or future traumatic events. Some of these activities could be: breathing in fresh air, listening to running water, listening to music, etc.
• Limiting social media exposure: The most important step is to limit one’s exposure to graphic presentation of violence, which can sensitize an individual and make him prone to emotional distress. However, the need of the hour is to tune in to more positive news.
Possible to lead stress-free life
An individual is bound to experience stress in life, which can sometimes result from exposure to media coverage of disasters. However, little things, if followed, can make a huge difference. It is important to be optimistic, even in difficult situations.
But if stress has taken a toll on you, both mentally and physically, it is important to seek medical help. Contact the Texas Mental Health Recovery Helpline to get in touch with one of the best mental health recovery centers in Texas that can churn out a new you. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866–596–4708 for more information about mental health centers in Texas.