Expert advice on how to cope with Nation's tragedies

April 18, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The bombings in Boston, ricin laced letters and now the explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. With so many disturbing images of what's going on in the country, experts say it's easy to become anxious or emotionally overwhelmed.

"It definitely makes everyone feel vulnerable going out to a public place. People are going to look at it in a different way now and we lose as a society if these events no longer continue," said ABC News Chief Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser. "If we're not running races, having parades, gathering in stadiums, we're not coming together."

Besser said, even if you're not in the community where the tragedies occurred, you can still be affected.

"You don't have to be in West, Texas or in Boston to have experienced some trauma here," here said. "So it's important to look at your loved ones, look at your friends, neighbors and look for any signs someone may not be coping."

He said the warning signs include withdrawing from social situations and the inability to function or perform at work or school.

"Young children may have difficulty processing this. Anyone under the age of seven, you want to limit exposure to these events. Older children, they're going to hear about this so you want to provide a safe setting for them to express their fears, concerns, to work it through with you," he said.

If you're feeling anxious, Dr. Besser said to focus on the positive things going on in your life and to reach out to family and friends.

"I think conversations with people you trust, is a great way to work through your problems. Looking for ways to help others that are less fortunate then you can be healing and it can also show you there's a lot of good in the world," he said.

Here in Central California, the Valley's faithful turned to their religion for prayer and guidance in dealing with our nations tragedies.

Parishioner Sylvia Vasquez, said it's important for people to get together and pray for world peace.

"There's power in prayer, we believe, and that's the only thing that we can do right now," she said. "Pray for the people, the souls who lost their lives, their families and even the people who did that."

And for those who live near facilities similar to that in West, Texas, Dr. Besser recommends familiarizing yourself with the chemicals used there, how they could potentially affect your body and the safety procedures in place to keep you safe.

"Now is a good time to review evacuations plans," he said. "When you understand how to do these things it's empowering and that can help you deal with some of the fear," he said.


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