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Lifestyle

Tips for dealing with catastrophes, bad news, tragedies

Remember that social contact can help, an expert

Remember that social contact can help, an expert says, so reach out to people instead of ruminating in isolation. Photo Credit: Dreamstime

News of traumatic events such as the recent mass shootings in Paris and California can be extremely unsettling. In this digital age, we have access to national crises as they unfold, and when that information is troubling and violent, the Department of Health and Human Services says it tests our resilience. Some people are left feeling sad, scared and even helpless.

Mayo Clinic oncologist Dr. Edward Creagan cares for patients with advanced cancer and specializes in helping people cope with tragedy and tough news. He says there are ways to help people deal with the onslaught of negative information.

“The first step is to recognize the power of relationships and the power of being connected,” he said. “This means you should pick up that phone and talk to people, take them out to coffee, because when we get isolated we start to ruminate and may begin to exaggerate the risks and fears we face every day.”

  • Creagan offers these tips on what you can do to make it through difficult times:Talk about it
  • Exercise: stretching, cardiovascular activities and strength training
  • Eat healthy foods: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, healthy fats
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Turn it off: take a break from watching, listening to or reading about bad news
  • Do activities you enjoy
  • Seek professional help: Talk to your health care provider if sadness or depression lasts for more than 10 days or if it negatively impacts quality of life
  • Care for a pet

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