How to cope when terrible events happen in the world

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It’s been a distressing and upsetting week in the world, with the tragic earthquake in Nepal, the increasingly alarming rates of deaths of women due to domestic and sexual violence this year and the loss of life of two Australian men convicted of drug smuggling in Bali. There’s been a lot of out pouring of support, anger, empathy and grief in our news and social media. For many of us it can be difficult not to take it to heart in what has certainly been a hard week.

So how do we learn to cope when terrible things are happening in our world or even close to home? It’s important to remember that the news reports these events for a reason; tragic and frightening things that occur can have an impact on the future such as changes in law, social views and foreign policy. The news also helps to raise awareness of important issues so that help, support and justice can be provided. For example not long ago in our history domestic and sexual violence was something that was too often turned a blind eye to. Through many brave people speaking out and increasing demands for accountability there has been changes in the law that protects victims and convicts offenders regardless of their marital, familial or social status. Although there is still arguably much to be done considering 2015 statistics.

Despite the overall negativity of events we can often find stories of great compassion and generosity such as Wollongong resident Theo Sinkovits, who was travelling on a motorbike trip through the region when the Nepal earthquake struck and has been using his bike to deliver aid supplies to remote areas as a volunteer. And who could forget the Brisbane floods in 2011 when over 12,500 volunteers showed up the next day to help with the clean up of their city.

We should care and it’s okay to be upset by these distressing events. But we can also take some time to be grateful for our loved ones and their health and safety at present. And remember that although terrible things do happen, many wonderful and good things also happen and we can all help to spread a little love and cheer this week.

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The Mind Centre was a counselling and meditation centre for several years before morphing into an information centre for people seeking to know more about mind and body health.

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