MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The shocking story of the shooting that killed dozens of people in a Texas church quickly overtook the airwaves on television and the internet.
Dr. Daniel Kessler learned of it on the radio.
“Just you know feeling sad and angry and frustrated and wanting to do something but knowing that here in my car in Chaska, Minnesota, what can I do,” he said.
Dr. Kessler is a psychologist with Allina Health. He allowed himself to experience those negative feelings and said others shouldn’t be afraid to do the same.
“The challenge is to process the feeling and experience the feeling and to allow yourself to have the feeling but not get stuck in it so that it consumes you,” he said.
To avoid being overwhelmed, Dr. Kessler suggests people find something productive to do to occupy your mind.
“This is a time to take some kind of action, whatever kind it is that’s safe and productive,” he said.
Dr. Kessler explained that could be as simple as chores around the house, or if the opportunity arises, helping those affected by the tragedy. After the Las Vegas shooting, hundreds lined up to donate blood. Volunteers sprang into action following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
But if directly helping the cause isn’t immediately possible, Dr. Kessler says simply absorbing tragic stories in moderation is healthier than avoiding it all together.
“Take (the news) in smaller bites and to not delve too deeply into it because sometimes that’s where it becomes overwhelming when you gather too much information and have too much information,” he said. “You want to have enough information to process it as best you can but not get stuck in it.”
Lastly, Dr. Kessler said it’s good to have productive conversation about the tragedy with others, but avoid arguing or having 1-on-1 debates. He said that type of talking might be more appropriate days or weeks down the road.