People woke up Monday morning to the shocking news that people attending a concert in Las Vegas were gunned down by sniper on Sunday night. Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 500 were injured, making this the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, NBC News reports.
That’s why Mayer recommends being mindful and assessing all aspects of a situation before you go into a crowd so that you can make smart decisions about your safety. “Remember, anxiety stems from the unknown or what we don’t understand,” he says. “If you collect the facts about an event, especially the event’s safety precautions, then you have the ‘data’ to lessen your anxiety and assess your safety,” he says. Tracking your thoughts and figuring out if you’re actually perceiving a threat or just imagining one is also a good way to calm your anxiety when you’re in a crowd, Klow says.
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Of course, mass shootings are scary and in most situations no one could have seen them coming—that’s part of the reason why they’re so terrifying. But if you’re feeling incredibly anxious about going into a crowd for any reason, it may also help to remind yourself that these things are relatively rare compared to how often people are in crowds on a regular basis.
If you’re feel overly anxious or overwhelmed about being in crowds—to the point where you’re too upset to go near any kind of gathering—it’s probably time to talk to a mental health provider. “Life can become a bit easier when you have some support for your mental health and wellbeing,” Klow says. Just don’t be hard on yourself if you pause for a moment before going to a big concert—it’s completely understandable given what’s happened.