Following shootings, experts say yoga, exercise good for coping with trauma

Handling trauma in the wake of mass shootings

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Two back-to-back mass shootings isn’t something anyone in this country could take lightly. Days later, it’s still a topic that weighs heavily on the minds of many. Experts say that while you may be feeling the secondhand trauma, it’s best to be in the moment as a way to take your mind off things.

El Paso and Dayton: two shootings less than a day apart left 31 dead, and many others with perhaps lifelong trauma.

While the people involved experienced the grief firsthand, many people may still feel a sort of secondhand trauma from the exposure alone.

“We’re on social media, we’re seeing it. It’s happening so rapidly, but...we’re constantly being reminded and it’s creating this traumatic experience in our brain," said Lisa Castro, the Behavioral Health Director at Southside Regional Medical Center

She says in order to battle the trauma within yourself, focus on the present – keeping your mind occupied so it doesn’t fall into a rabbit hole of grief.

Castro recommends techniques like "yoga, meditation, going to church, being around people you care about, seeking therapy, exercise.”

But of course, what about loved ones? Like kids, which Castro says sees more anxiety among among the group. She says that the key to talking with kids about these trying times is to being open and honest.

“Talk to them about that things that we do to keep them safe. Why they’re safe now, and why they’re safe in their school. And really that’s what you can do. I think kids that have a tendency to be anxious are going to be more affected by this,” Castro said.

But anxiety isn’t limited to kids. For your peers – especially those who may have been in combat and been around gunfire – you need to bring yourself to a place where you can meet them emotionally.

“If you have a friend or a family member who is experiencing these symptoms, you may want to sit down and talk with them like ‘Hey, I’ve noticed a change. There’s been a lot going on. Do you think it might be affecting you? Do you want to talk about it?’ and making it a safe space for people to do that.”

Castro says many people try to push through the grief – but if you do see signs like irritability, or issues at work or with your personal relationships – it may be a sign that the trauma is getting you. At that point she says, it’s best to seek some sort of help just to speak with someone.

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