Do You Know How To Stay Calm In A Crises? 

By Ange Fonce

The ability to stay "calm in a crisis" is not an inherited character trait... it is a "skill" that you can learn.

Have you noticed how certain men and women "possess the ability" to "remain calm" during crisis situations that many others would fall to pieces and panic. 

There is this common held belief that says that the ability to remain calm is a character trait that most of us lack.

The latest research Neuroscience has recently revealed that remaining "calm under pressure" is not an inborn trait... and is a "skill" that both men and women can "learn."

Here are some ways to “help” you stay calm is a crisis.

1... Understand The Biochemistry Of The Body...

The opposite of remaining calm is the state of "panic" a "physiological reaction" that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event... attack or threat to survival.

The reaction starts when two segments of your brain called the amygdalae interpret a situation as a "threat"... this perception causes your "brain" to secrete hormones that tell your nervous system to prepare your body to take drastic action.

Your breath gets short... your body floods your muscles with blood... your peripheral vision goes away and so forth.

Another name for this state is called Emotional Flooding... and your body goes into a "physiological state" of either “aggression” or “withdrawing.”

To use the clichéd expression “fight or flight.”

Side Note Here...

This expression came from researching stress with animals and not with humans... indeed a lot of the research looking at the hormonal substrate of stress in 1950s and 60s was well supported and funded by tobacco companies... who had reason to show that it was "stress" that was the disease that caused cancer and not smoking.

Now... since neither “aggression” nor “withdrawing” are productive in crisis situations... your body never gets a release.

Instead your "emotionally flooded physiology" tells your "brain"...

 "Panic... this is a real threat!" 

And you end up with your "brain" and "body" in a "negative feedback loop"... to put it simply... you lost the plot... in this highly "emotionally physiological state"... you will either remain frozen in fear and withdraw... or driven to release the pressure... you will attack.

In the worse case scenario that will be a "physical attack" and you do something very stupid... or it will be “verbal aggression" and you say very stupid things.

2... Name The Emotions...

To calm yourself and remain calm... you need to interrupt and take control “consciously” of that "negative feedback loop."

As explained above... the “emotional flooding” reaction begins in the amygdalae, which is where your brain processes "memory... interprets emotions" and makes what are often...inappropriately as it happens "gut decisions" based on "emotions."

It is now understood that you can reduce the "panic" signals from your amygdalae if you assign names or labels to the "emotions" that you are "experiencing" at the time. 

As Jon Pratlet... a pioneer in using neuroscience in leadership training says... 

"Naming your feelings and labeling them may assist in calming the amygdalae, allowing you to move out of “panic” mode and free up energy allowing you to think more clearly about the issue at hand, rather than worrying."

3... Slow Your Breathing...

Now that you have interrupted the "brain" part of the feedback loop... the psychology... you now interrupt the "body" part of the loop... the physiology by "consciously focusing" on “slowing” your breathing from shallow breaths to deep breaths.

Conventional beliefs have you going straight into deep breaths... this has the often unfortunate outcome of locking down your diaphragm... reinforcing the freeze response. 

What the limbic system is seeking to do is switch off the alarm system... by the frequency and location of  your breathing action... from a sympathetically derived shallow throat breathing to a slower diagrammatically induced  breathing pattern.... and “calming down” comes as an outcome of using the diaphragm which is innervated  by the vagus nerve... part of the parasympathetic nervous system.

When you "consciously gain control" of your "breathing pattern"... these deep breaths bring more oxygen into your lungs and thence into your bloodstream, which has the calming effect of the “emotional flooding” reaction.

You are telling your "body" and "brain" that it is no longer necessary to increase the intensity of your “panic” reaction.

Breathing alone is usually not enough when in an “emotionally flooded” state... yet it is a great way to begin the "process of unfreezing"... helped by reappraising ones "thoughts" then carrying out activities previously rehearsed or visualized to get back on track. 

4... Re Frame Your Emotions...

At this point...  you have interrupted the "feedback loop" at two levels... the "psychological" and the "physiological"...  in this step... you "eliminate" the "emotional impetus" that created the “flooding” response.

Go through the list of "emotions" that you identified in step 2 and assign them labels that are positive rather than negative. 

For example...

Fear to Anticipation

Frustration to Desire

Worry to Concern

Dread to Caution

Flustered to Excited

Alarmed to Curious

Pressured to Courted

When you re "frame your emotions"... you are using "controllable parts" of your "brain" to convince your amygdalae that this is not a “panic” situation... and instead a "stay aware and watchful" situation, or even a "sit back and enjoy" situation.

As you continue to breath slowly and deeply while holding the "reframed emotions" in your "mind"... notice the speed at which your heart is beating... you will find that it gradually returns to a steady pace. 

You have "consciously" regained "calmness."

While this technique does take practice... it is well worth the effort... because this skill will both make you a more effective in a “crisis situation” and vastly increase your ability to enjoy the natural ebb and flow of pressure in your everyday life.

Do not be surprised... when other people start looking to you as the “calm” level headed person in crisis situations as a “fearless leader." 

The Dynamic man or woman who will “get it done!” 

The person they TRUST... and that is a REAL compliment.

As always... leave a man or woman all the "better" for "knowing" you.

Thank you and may you enjoy a Prosperous and Dynamic day!

Yours Sincerely

Ange is an  Author... Speaker... and Humanistic Counselling Psychologist and Dynamic Peak Performance Personal Development Consultant... who works with men and women on line and real world who desire to "personally develop" themselves and their "relationships" to become Dynamic Lifers... "creators" of their own life and wealth!

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