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Don’t Panic, or How to Stay Calm

Opinion & Analysis
Any unpleasant, potentially dangerous or simply incomprehensible situation always causes great anxiety, that is, stress. This is evolutionary: negative thinking once helped mankind to survive. Imagine an ancient monkey sitting in the bushes – and then a rustle. What is the safest model of behavior for it? Positive – is it a ripe banana falling […]

Any unpleasant, potentially dangerous or simply incomprehensible situation always causes great anxiety, that is, stress. This is evolutionary: negative thinking once helped mankind to survive. Imagine an ancient monkey sitting in the bushes – and then a rustle. What is the safest model of behavior for it? Positive – is it a ripe banana falling from a branch, you need to go look, or negative – is it a saber-toothed tiger stealing and you need to run? The pessimists survived more often.

So when things go wrong, it’s inherently human to expect bad things. This is normal. Our psyche has a whole arsenal to deal with anxiety and stress. For example, isolation, denial, or rationalization of what is happening (finding reasons why an unpleasant situation might be helpful).

When anxiety is too great, the slumbering “hit or run” mechanism kicks in. The body prepares for this reaction – the tension is transferred to the muscles. But in modern life, as a rule, it is not clear whom to hit or whom to run away from. And then the only aspiration is to hide, and it doesn’t work. An instant solution is not found. The stress becomes even stronger.

As a result, because of the strong and long stress, sometimes panic sets in. We either freak out, or frantically rush around the room, or go into a stupor and cry, huddled in a corner. The more of these panicking people around, the more panicked we become.

How to Deal With Stress and Panic Avoid the Nocebo Effect

You’ve probably heard of the phenomenon of the placebo, which has a positive effect. So it has an evil twin brother – nocebo. This is the effect of negative expectations: when you are strongly afraid of something, you begin to find signs of it. For example, it has been proven that in clinical trials of drugs, those people who were warned about the possible side effects of drugs, more often felt them than those who were not warned.

Eliminate Negativity

Eliminate all negative information, which is now very much around: in the media, in social networks. To learn the news, try to choose neutral sources of information.

If possible, limit communication with toxic people who call and tell various horror stories or send them in messengers. They panic and infect everyone around them with anxiety – it’s calmer for them.

Try to Act Contrariwise

When you have a strong anxiety mechanism “beat or run” and stress reactions are manifested at the physiological level. If you feel your muscles freeze, try clenching them even tighter. Hold the maximum tension for 3-5 minutes. Then relax your body and breathe in with your full chest.

When your emotions are running high, just breathe. Shift all your attention to your breathing. Breathe deeply, not superficially, with your abdomen – deep breathing involves the diaphragm. Take a deep breath, having counted, for example, up to four, and then on an exhalation – count up to six-seven. Make sure the exhalation is longer than the inhalation.

Some people find it helpful to switch over and relax by doing intense sports, while others, on the contrary, need to lie down somewhere secluded.Uncomplicated physical exercises are good for warming up. Repeat them in a circle, one after another. Go through the whole cycle three to five times.

Starting position – feet shoulder width apart, hands at your waist.

  1. Stretch the neck: first do left-right turns, then left-right bends. Repeat five to six times.
  2. Bend your elbows, put your hands to your shoulders and make rotary movements with your hands 5-6 times forward and the same number of times backward.
  3. Bend forward and try to reach the floor (as far as you can). Repeat this 5-6 times.
  4. Bend right-left 5-6 times.
  5. Extend your arms forward and do 5-6 squats.

Sometimes water helps with panic. Just drink it. When stressed, digestion stops, and a few sips of water give the body a signal: everything is fine, you can calm down. Just wetting your mouth is enough to reduce stress.

You can try to attack the negativity from the mind. Some people find it helpful to switch to tasks that require maximum concentration. And someone useful to imagine what could be the most undesirable development of the situation. Then think about what the likelihood of such a development is and what can be done to avoid it. Is it worth worrying so much?

Do Something Pleasant

In times of great stress, if possible, eliminate all the activities that you do not like or for some reason annoying. Try to do more things that you enjoy. Find something that will help you relax: positive emotions displace negative ones. You could reread your favorite book, gamble at Betamo Casino in NZ, or cook your signature dish. You can have a family board game tournament, play with your pets, or take care of the flowers that are bored on the windowsill.

To distract from anxious thoughts, you can try the technique of intuitive writing. For 10-15 minutes, write everything that comes into your head, and it’s better on paper. As you would write in a diary – without criticism, without evaluation. You don’t need to reread what you’ve written.

Draw, knit, color. During creative activities, the left hemisphere of the brain, which is responsible for analytical work, rests. The creative right hemisphere gets to work. It helps to switch gears.

Moreover, switching can help this harmonizing and, at first glance, quite strange exercise. You will need three sheets of paper and felt-tip pens. Take the felt-tip pen in the leading hand (if you are right-handed, then in the right) and draw circles. Try not to take the marker away from the paper until you finish drawing the circle. Now take another sheet of paper, put the felt-tip pen in your non-directed hand and draw circles again. On the third sheet of paper, draw circles with both hands at the same time.

Control What You Can Control

Try to switch to something where you will control the situation. When you’re in control, it instantly gets easier. Plan out the entire week, or better yet, the month. Include in this plan not only business, but also hobbies.

You can make a list of books you want to read, or a list of movies you’ve wanted to watch or review for a long time. You can make a study schedule. Write down what courses you’ve long wanted to take, what topics to learn, what skills to pump up.

Get Support

At a time like this, it’s essential to get support. Someone finds it in communication with loved ones, someone turns to a psychologist, and someone to faith.There is no one recipe for all. Involve all around what exactly you feel comfortable and confident.

The most significant thing in a stressful situation is to concentrate on something positive: eliminate negativity, get support and distraction.