DEAR HARRIETTE: I live near a major city. My friends and I often travel into the city for a day of shopping or a fun dinner. In the past few months, there have been multiple terrorist attacks in big cities in both the United States and Europe. I am a very cautious person, so this scares me. It is starting to prevent me from making plans with my friends in the city. I think about what could happen while I am there, so I psych myself out about making the trip into town. Do you think this is an irrational worry? I don’t want to live in fear or continue canceling plans with my friends. -- Fear of Terrorism, Lancaster, Maryland
DEAR FEAR OF TERRORISM: Your fears are understandable. When random acts of terrorism occur with frequency in our own country, we, the citizens, get nervous. That said, you cannot let these few people with bad intentions destroy your life. That’s when they win. If you truly feel paralyzed into inaction, you may want to see a counselor to help you sort through your feelings.
Additionally, you may want to take action. Get involved in the political system in your hometown or even nationally. Find an organization that is actively working to thwart hate crimes and terrorist action, and volunteer for it. By giving voice to your fears and trying to find healthy solutions for how to move forward, you create a better chance for yourself to lead a full life.