How To Handle Your Anxiety Over Being In Crowds Right Now

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.

This shooting comes a little more than a year after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, which killed 49 people. And it’s not just happening in the U.S.: 23 people were killed by a suicide bomber at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, in May, and over the weekend, a man just stabbed two young women at a train station in Marseille, France, in an act of terror.

Related: Ariana Grande Says She Plans To Focus On Her Health Post-World Tour

Given all of this news, it’s understandable that you might be a little nervous to go to crowded public places anytime soon—and that’s okay. “Quite frankly, it is a good psychological, emotional, and protective mechanism to be fearful at this time about that,” says clinical psychologist John Mayer, Ph.D., author of Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life.

Having a small amount of anxiety about being in big crowds isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it’s designed to help protect you from perceived danger, says licensed marriage and family therapist David Klow, owner of Skylight Counseling Center in Chicago. But that can also get out of control, especially when it makes you fearful about something that isn’t there. “It’s important for us to be vigilant, but when we become hyper-vigilant, it can drive a general pervasive sense of anxiety,” he says.

Related: What These 2 Mass Shooters Have In Common Will Shock You—But It Shouldn’t

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.

(Want the day’s biggest news and trending stories delivered to your inbox? Sign up for our “So This Happened” newsletter.)

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.

Related: ​How To Stay Mentally Strong When It Feels Like The World Is Falling Apart

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.

Source: How To Handle Your Anxiety Over Being In Crowds Right Now

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s