Friday, July 15, 2016

Curbing Our #Anxiety About #Terrorism: Sadly, A Message That Needs Repeating

As the wave of terror continues to inflict physical and psychic pain in the world around us, we must find ways to cope with these new threats.  In this context, I feel that my earlier post on managing terrorism anxiety bears repeating.

The upsurge of global #terrorism, underscored now by yet more horrific acts of terror here in Orlando and in #Nice yesterday, evokes not only our deep sadness and compassion but also our fears.  Unending and alarming news coverage about these events remind us again and again that the world we live in can be a scary and dangerous place.  Terrorism and our relentless absorption in its aftermath, worsen anxiety.

No doubt many are feeling vulnerable and anxious right now. We naturally become frightened and aroused when we sense danger. Feeling anxious in times like these is certainly understandable. However, we do not want to stay stuck there.  Anxiety is a mobilizing state of alarm, it is not a state to stay in. 

Uncertainty fuels anxiety and, there are many things about our physical world that are uncertain: bounty, scarcity, health, illness, political stability, life, death, to name a few.  As much as we might wish otherwise, we have limited control over many of life's vagaries.  While we seek to make tomorrow a safer and better place, we live and move forward in a world that presents us with uncertainty about health, financial security, droughts, hurricanes, and now, terrorism. 

The key point for you is this:  At best, you have limited control over the uncertainty in the world around you.  However, and importantly, you absolutely can control uncertain thinking about it. When you dwell on risk and uncertainty, you cause anxiety. When you halt this worrisome, "what if" thinking, you stop it.

To get an even better grip on terrorism anxiety, remind yourself that your chances of actually being the victim of a terrorist attack are extremely low, less than your chances of being struck by lightning. Therefore, aimless worry over terror is useless.  Yes, take reasonable precautions, but also take charge over the real culprit behind worry and anxiety: eliminate counterproductive, "what-if," thinking about life's uncertainties. Curbing our anxious thinking about terrorism helps.

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