Coping with Acts of Terror

It seems like the news channels have a new act of terror to report on weekly, but terrorism is unfortunately nothing new. Unforgettable past events like September 11th have shaped the way people look at the world while recent events like the Paris shootings are an even greater reminder of how unpredictable our world can be.

This past weekend my previous home of Kalamazoo, Michigan was struck by a horrific mass shooting. It is hard not to feel helpless and hopeless when innocent people have to be put through tragic events.

“Terrorism threatens a society by instilling fear and helplessness in its citizens. It seeks to hold a society or government hostage by fear of destruction and harm” (APA, 2016).

My heart goes out to the individuals and families who were and have been impacted by acts of terror. “It is important to recognize that diversity in a population can be an opportunity for unity and strength” (APA, 2016). Although these events cause great amounts of stress, surviving and coping can develop into resilience.

The American Psychological Association suggests these tips for coping with traumatic experiences:

* Talk to others about your fears. It is OK to ask for help

* Recognize that the nature of terrorist attacks creates fear and uncertainty about the future. Continue to do the things in your life that you enjoy. Don’t get preoccupied

with the things you cannot control to the extent that they prevent you from living your normal life

* Make efforts to maintain your usual routine

For further information and suggestions for coping with acts of terror please visit




American Psychological Association. (2016). Managing traumatic stress: coping with terrorism, Retrieved from