Silhouette Of Colored Smoke

How are you reacting to the violence happening all around us?  Whether it be violence toward children or gun massacres at the local theater–do you feel upset, angry, helpless, or afraid?

This is a big question and I won’t pretend to have an answer.  I do think that it is helpful to do something, even if it something small that you do for yourself.  Here are some ideas:

  • Write about your feelings/thoughts, and share with others through email, blogs, or talking,  This can include writing a poem or a story.
  • Create artwork that helps you express your feelings and thoughts.
  • Understand yourself well enough to know if you have been triggered, for example if you have a history of trauma, how you may be getting stirred up.  Talk to others you trust and feel safe with about your thoughts and feelings.
  • Listen to talk radio or television as much as it is helpful for you.  Know when you are getting too much from the media and how to turn it off.
  • Think about what you believe would help the violence that is occurring so often in our society.  Even if you don’t think your ideas would make a difference it is good to have them and express yourself. But if this activity increases your helpless feelings then do something else.
  • If you know someone who is troubled, see if there is a way to help them get help.  This includes yourself.  I have been struck by the theme of people seeing that someone was in trouble and not knowing what to do about it. Of course there are many situations such as suicide or violence towards others where nothing could be done to prevent it.  However, if you see or hear a warning sign, try not to ignore it or diminish it in your mind.  If you are concerned about someone, try to find a way to get them help.  This could mean leaving AA brochures around where someone will look at them all the way to calling the police to do a health and safety check for someone you are concerned about.  I just read about the shooter in Colorado showing marked signs of psychosis.  If enough people came forward to express concern to the school, would they have noticed and been held accountable to try to help him?
  • Try not to blame yourself for difficult things that happen.  Be kind to yourself and others as much as is possible. There is such a fine line between holding yourself responsible and trying to help others.  You can never be responsible for another person’s behavior, but you can use your instincts and compassion for others or yourself to try to bring attention to someone who may be at risk.

Picture credit– Lebin Yuriy,


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