How to cope with terror

We live in a world that is constantly on heightened alert in preparation for potential terror attacks. They can happen anywhere, at any time.

If you’ve experienced such an incident close-up or even from afar, it can be incredibly difficult to come to terms with what you’ve seen or what’s happened elsewhere. Common questions include:

Is anywhere safe?

What if it happens again?

Should I cancel my travel plans?

If this rings true with you, we have five tips that should help you deal with the threat of terror:

1. Stop watching the news

If rolling news channels are still covering the aftermath, try and avoid tuning in.

The footage you see is likely to do nothing more than raise your anxiety levels and make you even more fearful.

Instead, watch something else, get as much exercise as you can and continue with the next four tips…

2. Surround yourself with people you love

There may be times when you want to be alone. And that’s absolutely fine – this is an individual process, after all – but try to mix solitary hours with time close to the people you love.

Your close friends and family members will be a fantastic source of support if you’re concerned. They’ll help you talk about your feelings or experience or, alternatively, completely take your mind off it.

3. Think about the numbers

The name we give to those that carryout these attacks  – terrorists – reflects exactly their motives: to spread terror and make us afraid.

In reality, terrorist attacks are quite rare. If we take France as an example of a country that has suffered countless attacks, the numbers behind them are worth taking into account.

There have been eight terrorist attacks in France over the last three years, making your odds of being caught up in one of these pretty low.

Clearly, these numbers offer little consolation when these awful incidents do happen, but in time, they may provide some indication that it is unlikely you’ll be caught-up in an attack. if you ever are, it’s not your fault and not something you can plan for.

4. Look for the good

Among the harrowing news stories about terrorist incidents lie tales of unspeakable bravery, unwavering kindness and a combined will to not let the perpetrators win.

After an attack, try to take some comfort from the good stories that begin to emerge days later. Focus your mind on them as much as you can.

5. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you need to feel

Terror attacks can be huge, life-changing events, and our minds and bodies aren’t designed to cope with acts as unspeakable as this.

You therefore need time to feel whatever emotions come your way. Try to avoid bottling them up or suppressing the desire to have a much-needed cry. As we’ve noted before, this is a process, and one which you’ll successfully navigate, if you allow yourself to feel.

If you’d like to speak to a confidential third party who will listen to your story and offer the advice and support you need at this time, the Voice team is here for you.