When the news brings the awareness of actual tragedies into your everyday life, it can be rattling.
Hearing about random shootings, missing planes or freak illnesses brings up thoughts and feelings we'd rather not have. Most common: What if it was me or someone I love? Being forced to ask those questions is uncomfortable, yet we want to be informed and care about the world around us.
If we don't have the right attitude, fear can overwhelm us.
Some people, when faced with this upsetting information, feel it's best to recede and avoid experiences that trigger more fears. At the Handel Group, we encourage a more thoughtful approach but not one that cuts you off from your heart.
Logic informs us that the risk of tragic death is not increased just because we became aware of an instance in the news, yet we seem to be incapable of remembering that. Hear this strong voice of reason, "You are not more likely to be a victim just because you know the possibility exists." In fact, you can turn this bad theory on it's head. It's probably less likely anything bad will happen to you or yours now that everyone is more alert. The odds are now stacked in your favor. You can tell your mind what to think.
We've dealt with your mind, now let's deal with your heart.
You can't help but be truly sad for the people whom tragedy befalls. This is actually a worthwhile experience of compassion that we should all go through from time to time. When it turns to crippling fear "the terrorists" win and that's not okay! Again, the amazing thing about being a human is that you have control over how you think. You can tell yourself to think about this heart-opening moment in your life as an opportunity. It's not an opportunity to worry or create scary fantasies in your head, it's an opportunity to feel and care.
My advice to clients who start getting overly emotional about someone else's tragedy: Ask yourself why. Most likely you will find that it's because you want to live and you want your loved ones to live. For this moment, you recognize the preciousness of being alive. You feel so much because you love so much. Recognize that and celebrate that. It's actually a very important, special, poignant moment.
Then take action.
Your feelings are clues. Follow them and learn from them. Instead of thinking your feelings are telling you to avoid life, think that they are telling you to live more fully. That means cuddle a little extra with your kids that night, make real alone time with your partner, call your mother and really listen to her, talk to your friends on the phone (texting doesn't count) and really connect, start that project you've been putting off. And if you get really emotional, clean your closet -- nothing cures a bad mental state better than clutter clearing!
Life is a risk. And that's why it's actually worth living and living fully.
For a spirited pep talk and coaching on facing your fears, join the Handel Group's one hour teleseminar Fear: Let's Face It.
Follow Laurie Gerber on Twitter: www.twitter.com/HGLifeCoaching