People are almost hard-wired to panic. As an evolutionary trait, the heightened senses and extended human capabilities are supposed to help survival; however, the body’s response to an emergency situation can cause more harm than good.
When caught in an emergency, here are a few things you can do to stay calm. A rush of adrenaline can be a lifesaver, but only if it does not result in a panic attack.
Assess the Situation
Panic often strikes when there is confusion. Fight this by assessing the situation. Think about the facts and stop yourself from thinking what will happen next. Take in as much information as you can about the present. By knowing what is around you, you are better equipped to respond.
This also applies to risky encounters, such as kidnapping. Always assess the situation instead of dwelling on the bad things that could happen.
Acknowledge Your Skills
Know how you can help and stay alive. Make a mental list of all the relevant skills you have. Your camping experience might help you survive in the woods for a few hours, for example. If you hold a first aid certificate which unfortunately only less than 5% of Australians have, you know you are capable of helping out victims of an accident.
Alleviate the Severity
Use your skills to help others who might need it. When you are helping, you are dedicating the adrenaline-induced high to potentially life-saving tasks rather than just panicking.
Ask for Help
Talking to someone who knows how to deal with emergencies can be of help. In addition, being quick to call for an emergency will result in a faster response. Just note that you should only reach for the phone when you are safe; do not force a call if it will put your life at risk.
These three things are easy to remember as the four A’s: Assess, Acknowledge, Alleviate and Ask. By doing these three, you will be able to approach emergencies more calmly. Panicking as the first response is easy to unlearn. It is also important to build emergency-related skills as they directly increase your confidence in dealing with unwanted incidents.