People without direct experience in the disaster may still have psychological impacts, e.g. through repeated exposure to media coverage [1]. Some of you tend to come across detailed narrations with images or video footages about the disaster on social media, instant news mobile apps and TV, thus becoming indirectly engaged in the incident (See Disaster Overview: Who will be affected). You may feel sorry and sad for what has happened. You may also feel anxious and fearful because the misfortune could fall upon you. These feelings tend to subside over time, but there are things you can do to ease your distress:

  1. Seek mutual social support
    Talk to your family and friends to lessen your anxiety as well as offer care and support to each other.

  2. Do a moderate amount of exercise
    A moderate amount of exercise can reduce physiological reactions induced by stress. Moderate exercises such as jogging, swimming and brisk walking can relax your muscle and banish tension from your body.

  3. Select news sources to read and watch with care
    If you do not feel comfortable seeing certain images or contents in news reports, you may consider reading and watching only those within your comfort level and avoid over-exposure to emotionally-disturbing information.

  4. Turn off automatic notification of your social media and mobile apps
    You can choose when and what to read about the disaster rather than being fed.

If the psychological reactions disrupt your everyday life, you may consider seeking help from the professionals (see Resources: Professional Services).

Note:

  • [1] Adapted from Press Releases Division of Clinical Psychology, the Hong Kong Psychological Society.