The University of Westminster’s Cognitive Neuropsychologist Dr Catherine Loveday, and Professor Damien Ridge, Professor of Health Studies at the University, have written a comment article for the i newspaper providing the public with psychological advice on how to cope in the aftermath of terrorist attacks.

Dr Loveday and Professor Ridge raised three points: remember your reactions are normal; challenge our fascination with tragedy; and allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling.

They wrote: “Most people will naturally get better over a few weeks. However, if you or your child are particularly troubled by thoughts or feelings, or if symptoms stretch past a month, then do visit your GP for help.”

They also suggested that it is best is to make a decision regarding how much you and your child should read and talk about the incident. “Each time we revisit the same thought or image, connections in the brain are strengthened, so that memories become more powerful. If those are linked to fear or anxiety, then those feelings may also be reinforced. This not only means that the negative memories are given extra prominence, but also that we overestimate the likelihood of a negative event happening in the future.”

Finally, they added: “Our best advice is to share your feelings with your friends and family, and allow yourself to have your feelings. Feelings can’t be wrong. By all means, grieve and admit your anxieties, even if just to yourself. But also make an effort to limit your exposure to media coverage of trauma. Engage in things that remind yourself and your loved ones of the positive things in life. Here, you can help to re-write your brain to be more realistic, and not so biased towards the unusually negative.”

Read the full article on the i newspaper’s website.

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