Coping with Fear
A common reaction to experiencing, witnessing, or hearing about the details of a violent or threatening event, is a heightened sense of personal vulnerability or fear. This fear reaction may be lessened by employing one or more of the following strategies:
- Validate the fear. Remind yourself that it is normal to experience fear and the range of other emotions you may be experiencing.
- Share your fear with others. Understanding, supportive others who can listen to you often provide relief. You may find that they have experienced a similar fear reaction sometime in their life. Even if you do not talk about your fear, the company of supportive others who are experiencing similar reactions, thoughts, and feelings can be a comfort.
- If you do not want to be alone, find ways to be with others. Spending time with familiar others can make you feel safer and more comfortable. Entertain the notion of inviting a friend over to spend the night with you, travel with friends, let people know you would like their company.
- Create a safe environment. Analyze your living and working environment and identify ways to increase your sense of personal safety and security.
- Obtain accurate information about your reactions. Seek out the assistance of informed others who can help you sort through your feelings and thoughts. Avoid persons who deny or minimize your experience.
- Realize that you can not control everything. Often our fears are exacerbated by situations that remind us that we can not control all persons, places, and things. It is often helpful to identify those things that are in our control, and to try to let go of those things that are not.
- Remember that your reactions are normal reactions to an abnormal situation. Over time, you will start to regain your sense of safety and security. If you feel that you could benefit from assistance in this process, seek out a mental health professional. It is often helpful to consult with such a professional if you feel that your daily functioning is negatively affected.
- Seek Spiritual Help. Matthew 10:29, 30, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your father. And even the very hairs of your head are numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”