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    Reaction to Tragic Events

    News of violent and tragic events can affect us mentally, emotionally and physically. Most people experience a stress reaction when they learn of these events. This is normal. However, we do not all experience the event the same way and our reactions are not the same either. For some, the reaction lasts a matter of days. For others, the reaction will remain for months. Some of us shut our feelings down, while others of us are outwardly very emotional. We are all unique and have different life experiences that influence our reactions. Be patient and try not to judge the reactions of others or of yourself.

    As mentioned, tragic events can affect us mentally, emotionally and physically. Below are some of the common signs of stress reactions:

    Physical: Fatigue, nausea, headaches, elevated blood pressure, insomnia
    Mental: Confusion, nightmares, heightened alertness, difficulty paying attention, shortened memory
    Emotional: Anxiety, irritability, anger, depression, guilt, fear, overwhelm, difficulty controlling emotions

    Healthy Ways to Cope

    • Be gentle with yourself. It is okay to be upset.
    • Maintain as normal a schedule as possible.
    • Reach out to others – spend time with family and friends.
    • Talk to people – talking can be the most therapeutic medicine.
    • Be careful about numbing your feelings with alcohol or drugs.
    • Get plenty of rest, healthy food, water and exercise.
    • Do not try to fight recurring thoughts or dreams. They are normal and usually decrease over time.
    • Continue making small decisions in daily life that give you a sense of control (where to eat, what movie to see). Do not make any big life decisions or changes.
    • Help others. It can give you a break from your own stress.
    If you are struggling with your feelings, please call Sutter Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 1-800-477-2258. Available every day, around the clock, Sutter EAP staff can help you with your feelings or refer you to a therapist in your area. All services are confidential and free. You may also visit Sutter EAP online at

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