Expert explains the problems of dealing with fear in the technology age

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – There are a lot of complicated issues going on in the world currently.  With these issues comes a climate of fear in the Western world related to terrorists and the bad influences that they have on people.  These fears are best addressed by a professional and this week WHNT News 19 sat down with Psychologist Dr. Patrick Quirk to talk about some of these current issues that could be causing you stress.

The news has never been more at your fingertips than it is right now.  Not that long ago, the news wasn’t so instantaneous.  It might be days before anyone heard about breaking news stories that weren’t near them.  These days breaking news can be read about, minutes after the event happens, right from your smart phone. “There are great advantages to the electronically connected world where we can see what’s happening all over the world almost instantaneously.  So we know what’s going on, but on the other hand it can kind of become overwhelming.” explains Dr. Quirk.

With all of the negativity happening in the world, how are we supposed to process all of this information?  “I think in terms of what are you going to do about it? We know it’s going on, how do you handle those sort of situations?  And I think the first thing is to see the scope of what you’re looking at.  Where that news happened, it was absolutely horrible, but what’s the likelihood that it’s actually going to touch your life?” asks Dr.  Quirk.

It is a knee-jerk reaction to avoid places that remind us of dangerous situations.  For instance after the multiple shootings that took place at movie theaters across the country, people avoided the cinema for a while.  “I think if you had subjected people at any point in time to the things that Americans are experiencing right now which is instantaneous dramatic impact, then I think you would see the same thing out of people at any point in time.  I think a gut level, visceral response to traumatic events, and then they become overly cautious across the board in a completely unrealistic and irrelevant way.  It’s not like there is a rash of every other movie theater having somebody shooting at it.  But it’s one time it happens and it has this much more dramatic effect.  It really is a way over reaction.”

Watch our entire conversation with Dr. Patrick Quirk here in three parts: