How to stay calm --and stay informed -- during times of terror

Tip no. 1? It involves what you're doing right now.

October 15, 2015 20:29
2 minute read.

Silent Victims: How to help someone in shock

Silent Victims: How to help someone in shock

Is there any way to stay calm these days when acts of terror seem to be sweeping across the country and without warning?

This worry has the ability to overcome our thoughts and even affect our daily lives. However, there is still a need to be up-to-date on what is happening across the country.

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For advice, The Jerusalem Post turned to Solly Dreman, a professor emeritus in psychology at Ben-Gurion University.

Here are his recommendations:

1. Stop constantly checking the news

"Don't ignore it, but cool it," says Prof. Dreman, who recommends only checking the news every three hours, rather than following it obsessively.

2. Don't cut out the news completely

Ignoring the news while a security situation rages can also backfire, he said.

"If you wait [too long], your anxiety levels are going to be shooting up. You need information. But the question is: What's the timing?"

3. Listen to the radio  instead of watching TV

Even though the main goal of the news is to be informed and stay safe, Dreman says that the visual aspect of the media adds unnecessary stress to the situation.

"Television shows all the hostile and ugly events, which is extremely traumatic," he said.

4. Take a break from social media

"The overload of media is crippling," Prof. Dreman said of social media becoming part of the non-stop news mix that already existed.

"People are constantly trying to find information and this is usually disastrous," adding "It doesn't allow a person to calm down."

5. Monitor your family's level of exposure to the news

Dreman recommended either keeping children away from the media altogether or limiting their news exposure to small amounts. He said the sensationalized aspect of news at times, especially unconfirmed rumors of attacks, can make an already-difficult situation worse for adults and children alike.

Bonus: How to explain the news to children

Children are going to find out about the heightened security situation whether from school, their peers, or unfortunately from seeing incidents on their own.

Dreman is in favor of exposing children to the truth of the situation in an age-appropriate way. He also emphasized the need for a strong parental figure in times of stress. When speaking to their children about recent events, parents should confirm that the situation is difficult, he said, but also ensure them security forces, police and the government are doing their best to alleviate the situation.

Depending on age, it is okay to acknowledge that people are being injured or killed, as long as it is emphasized that parents are taking precautions to protect their children.

He said that he would even go beyond an explanation and empathize with any fear that children might have. "Say 'We are anxious too and if you feel anxious it's understandable. But it's very important for us to go on with our lives as best as possible." '

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