On dealing with the stress of tragedy & violence

The stress of violence in America is real. As I sit and write this I feel a weight on my heart. I’ve turned off the television because it is too painful to watch…There is so much pain, so much death, so much inhumanity and I feel so powerless to do anything about it. The powerlessness of standing by and watching innocent people be gunned down…for no reason…watching people being treated with no humanity, no decency tears me up inside…I wonder, what can I do? How can I stop this? How do I make this better? Should I go walk with the protesters in Times Square? Should I sign a petition? Or, should I just go to bed, pull the covers up over my head and hope the nightmare is not real, which is exactly what I did the other night, only to wake up to another nightmare. When will it stop? What is really going on? How do I deal day-to-day wondering if my children are safe? My beautiful 6’2” tall brown-skinned 19-year-old son… It is almost too much to consider. And I then return to the television and find myself soothed by the rational, humane thoughts of someone like a Charles Blow, but then stressed, angered and horrified when I hear other pundits speak from a place of inhumanity and self-service.

And so I turn off the television.

And then I am left to my own thoughts, my own confusion, and I wonder what do I
do? What can I do? And I am not alone in feeling this way. We are all one human race even though we break off into clans…the one thing that gives me any solace and hope is that when I was watching the television, I saw groups of protesters across the country of all races, genders and ages. We are all one human race and when we come together we can fight the evil that is in this world. We are in a fight for our humanity. We know who we are. We are one human race sharing space together on this planet… Interconnected and interdependent.

And so, from a health perspective, how do we, manage the stress that we are all carrying with us from this week’s horrific events? Because we are not human if we do not feel what is happening. Loving more deeply, is the only answer that makes sense to me. Love yourself even if no one else loved you. Love every human being, no matter what they look like, no matter their station in life. Because love must be the only answer…God has not forsaken us…but God is demanding that we choose: love or hate. And love wins every time!

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