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How to deal and heal after recent world tragedies

The links within this post lead to news articles of recent events and may contain images that are graphic and/or disturbing. Please be cautious when visiting these links.

Horrible acts of violence occur all over the world. But even worse, sometimes several major and horrific acts of violence occur around the same time. You may even have noticed several of these acts popping up on the news within the last month.

Like the bombing in Baghdad, Iraq on July 3, which, according to The Wall Street Journal, killed nearly 300 people. And the recent suicide bombing on Istanbul's Ataturk Airport in Turkey that took the lives of 44 people. Then, the worst shooting in U.S. history, which occured on June 12 at an Orlando, FL LGBTQ+nightclub—where, as told by CNN, 49 innocent people lost their lives.

Now, it's with a heavy heart that we must report on yet another tragic series of events. Yesterday evening, USA Today reports that five police officers were shot and killed in Dallas, TX during what was otherwise a peaceful protest of the recent police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

These events are devastating, horrifying and confusing. And with the wide array of videos, images, commentary, opinions and conflicting information circulating on the internet, social media and real-life discussions, it can be extremely difficult to understand and process these tragic events—and the complex discussions that occur afterward.

Here are a few suggestions to help you:

Choose your news wisely.
It's important you make sure that you are getting your news from reputable sources. CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Fox and USA Today are a few trusted sources to look to.

Approach your parents.
If there are parts of the news that you don't understand and want to discuss with someone, reach out to your parents or another adult you trust. Find a time when you can sit down and chat without other distractions—and come ready with specific questions you have, or a news article you want to discuss. Keep in mind that these topics are difficult for them, too—so they, like you, may also have difficulty comprehending the news.

Unplug.
Now may also be a good time to disconnect from your social media. Many people lash out with emotionally charged posts, and you don't want to find yourself caught in a Facebook feud or Twitter war. If you feel like you need to share something, first take a step back. Make sure that you have your thoughts clearly organized. Try writing them down on a piece of paper to get a better visual. Next, do your research. Use the reliable sources mentioned above make sure that you are writing a well-informed and factually supported post. Read and reread your draft before posting it. And, finally, be prepared for others to disagree with your thoughts.

Do something.
It's normal to feel helpless when we see horrific things happening across the country—or on the other side of the world. If you feel compelled to help but don't know where to start—or question whether your contribution will even matter—remember that even the smallest act of kindness can make a difference. Try starting a grassroots fundraiser (sell lemonade, organize a car wash, sell those cute bracelets you make) to benefit the victims of a tragedy or simply send a hand-written letter of support to someone involved.

Take a break.
If you're having a difficult time dealing, it's OK to switch off the news and take a break from it all. Focus on what is happening in your world that makes you happy, and then share that happiness with others. Remember that there is still plenty of room for kindness in the world, and one positive act a day can keep it going.

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by Hayley Anderson | 7/8/2016
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