How to Cope with a Tragedy When You Have Anxiety

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the news about the school shooting in Florida. I wish I knew what to say to take away the pain and heartbreak that so many are feeling today. My heart breaks for each and every one of them.


Tragedies are difficult to cope with if you don’t have mental health issues. If you do have them, it makes tragedies that much harder to cope with. Stressors like these can even trigger relapses.

In light of what’s happened, I wanted to take the time to share tips for coping with tragedies when you have anxiety or other mental health issues.

  • Limit the amount of time you spend watching the news. With the 24/7 news coverage, it’s easy to become overloaded with information. It can make your stress and your symptoms even worse.
  • Maintain your daily/weekly routine, no matter how hard it is. When unexpected, scary events happen, it’s easy to feel like your world has turned upside down. By continuing your normal routine, it gives you a sense of normalcy, which helps you cope with stress.
  • If you’re struggling, reach out for help. Don’t suffer alone. It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling, but don’t suffer alone. Reach out to a family member, friend, therapist/counselor, religious leader, or anyone you trust.
  • If necessary, have a good cry. Sometimes we need to release our emotions before we can move on. There’s no shame in doing so.
  • It’s easy to feel powerless when bad things happen. If you feel powerless right now, do something positive. Write to your representatives and demand change. Reach out to someone who’s struggling. Pay for someone’s meal or coffee.
  • Take care of yourself. Indulge in your favorite relaxing activities. If you enjoy movies, have a movie night with your family/friends. If you like to read, stay up late reading your favorite book.

It’s easy to feel hopeless and scared in the face of evil. It can be exhausting trying to keep up your courage, especially when it seems easier to stay in a bubble. It will be okay, though. You’ve survived other tragedies, and you will survive this one too.


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