Natural disasters such as the two earthquakes that have stricken California a few days ago are classified as traumatic experiences. These kind of events are stress-inducing traumas for people who experience them, as result, it’s not unnatural or unusual to experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)-like symptoms: shock and disbelief, fear, sadness, helplessness, guilt, anger, shame, relief.
How can we face them?
Be prepared: Don’t be paralyzed by fear, arm yourself with knowledge and a plan. Talk about what you would do when an earthquake hits. Run drills with your loved ones and your family members.
Minimize media exposure: Excessive exposure to images of a disturbing event —such as video clips or images on social media or news sites—can also create traumatic stress. Stay informed just in an adequate manner.
Helping others: Overcoming traumatic stress is often about taking action. Positive action can help you overcome feelings of fear, and even small actions can make a big difference.
Accept your feelings: Traumatic stress can cause you to experience difficult emotions. These are normal reactions to the loss of safety and security (as well as life, limb, and property) that comes in the wake of a disaster. Accepting these feelings and allowing yourself to feel what you feel, is necessary for healing.
Psychological first aid: There are various methods for dealing with disaster victims: it includes a slow breathing exercise to a count of three, which helps to relax and reduce anxiety and talking them through an imagined situation.
Victims could also benefit from talking through their experience of what’s happened to them or their fears, but this method requires professional help since it could trigger negative emotions.
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