July 25, 2018
Trader Joe's hostage situation
affects everyone
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The four-hour, non-stop national coverage of the recent Trader Joe's hostage situation in Silver Lake, California had us all glued to our news media outlets. Here are some tips on how to avoid "growing a belly full of trauma."
Normalcy Disrupted
Non-stop media coverage of the Trader Joe's hostage situation had us all glued to our televisions and devices, praying for a peaceful end to the crisis. Sadly, one woman lost her life in the deadly exchange of gunfire at the store.

These traumatic events can lead to significant emotional distress. The loss of life, of community and safety challenge us to rebuild our communities, businesses, and normal daily life.

We never expect to have the comfort of our everyday activities disrupted in such a traumatic way. After these incidences, our sense of security is lost and we may experience some of following emotional reactions. For a quick self-help reference, please view our short video.
Normal emotional reactions
You may experience several stages of adjustment including shock, anger, depression and hopelessness. U ltimately, however, people can reach a stage of acceptance and be able to move beyond disbelief, bitterness and sadness. Positive feelings can begin to re-emerge as the focus shifts towards the future. Safety, security and comfort are regained, and life moves forward once again.
Self-care strategies
You need to take care of yourself. Think about your personal resiliency, healing and a sense of normality. Some self-care strategies you may want to consider are:
  • Practice proven stress-reduction techniques, such as regular exercises, meditation and deep breathing.
  • Allow yourself to feel bad, cry and release negative emotions in a healthy manner.
  • Give yourself permission to feel good. You can have periods of joy even when coping with loss.
  • Make small decisions daily in order to feel in control of your life once more.
  • Do not isolate yourself too much. Spending some time with people is healthy in recovery.
  • Talk about your ordeal with friends and family.
  • Take advantage of community support.
  • Stay away from un-prescribed mood-altering substances, such as alcohol and other drugs.
  • Get plenty of rest when possible and maintain a normal sleep/wake cycle.
  • Eat well-balanced meals.
For children
Children and adolescents can react in a variety of ways when dealing with a stressful situation, including experiencing anxiety, nightmares and sleep disorders. A child's ability to cope is highly influenced by how their parents and caregivers deal with crisis. Because children often look to adults for guidance, support and information, it is important to work to toward coping successfully so that you may serve as a positive role model for your children. Most likely you are their main source of security during this time.

Be open to children sharing their thoughts, concerns and ideas. Encourage them to return to their normal routines, including playtime. Be careful not to use your children as a way of venting your fears and worries.
Gina Ross, MFCC
International Trauma Instiute
269 South Lorraine Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004
323.954.1400 office phone
Email: Gina@GinaRoss.com
www.traumainstitute.org
TO MAKE A DONATION THAT SUPPORTS OUR WORK IN TRAUMATIZED AREAS OF THE WORLD PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT