Strategies for coping:
Live your life as usual
One of the main characteristics of a modern democracy is the freedom of movement. Do not let fear influence your daily routines. Participating in your community will give you positive relational experiences and help your brain and alarm system adapt to normality – and stop sending alarm signals. Gradually expose yourself to situations you fear.
Information about terrorism can lead to a sense of control, overview and coping. It is helpful to know the authorities measures for preparedness and prevention of terror. Precise and correct information is essential for stress management, while incorrect and limited information may increase stress and fear.
Sometimes it can be smart to avoid media reports from terror attacks. Distraction can be an effective coping strategy when you encounter threats beyond your control. Negative emotions and thoughts, that induce fear and uncertainty can be avoided by focusing on things that give a feeling of coping. Exercises (HighRes) can help you cope with stress, distract negative thoughts and reduce tensions.
Time to worry
We often tend to believe that our thoughts are both important and true. Research has proven that this is not always correct. In periods of stress, you may use more time on worries than positive thoughts. If you schedule ten to fifteen minutes each day, e.g. after dinner, on your worries – this may lead to less stress and negative thoughts the rest of the day. It might be difficult in the beginning, but this task will help you regain control over your mindset.
Self regulation and establishing healthy everyday-routines is important – such as sleep and food habits. Close relations with friends and family can reduce stress. It may also be useful to do exercise and use relaxation techniques to wind down.
Acceptance of uncertainty
It is impossible to control and handle all possible threats. Accepting uncertainty as part of your everyday life, will enrich your life. Distinguish between the threats you can control, and the ones you cannot. Adhere to the authorities advice and use your common sense.
You have to be prepared to react efficiently during a crisis. Acquire information about possible threats and the authorities’ advice in case of emergency. Be aware that terror might happen where you are, but tell yourself that the probability that you might be a target is very low. Create a sense of inner safety by telling yourself that “It might happen here – but I’ll be fine”.
Discuss your fear
If you worry about terror, it may help to discuss your fear. This might help you feel less uncertain of the situation, and be able to continue with your life as usual.
Sound strategies such as being alert, live your life as usual and distract from worries, may enhance your feeling of coping and control. An alert population may help reveal potential terrorist attacks. However, if the population are very suspicious, this may lead to negative consequences e.g. xenophobia and innocent people being suspected of terror.
Trust in authorities and police
If you trust the authorities’ terror preparedness, it will reduce your stress and give you more energy for positive activities.