How we behave in a crisis can make all the difference between overcoming or succumbing.
You may believe that you have no control in a crisis; on the contrary there is much you can do both beforehand and during!
As Thomas Jefferson wisely understood:
"The most fortunate of us all in our journey through life frequently meet with calamities and misfortunes which greatly afflict us. To fortify our minds against the attacks of these calamities and misfortunes should be one of the principal studies and endeavors of our lives."
For example, for a financial crisis make sure you have some money saved as a safety net in case of a job loss, industry shut down, etc. In the event of a health crisis be in the best of health before sickness strikes. Shore up your immune system by eating properly, getting enough exercise, sleeping well and maintaining overall good health practices.
2. Expect the best, plan for the worst. Planning goes hand in hand with being prepared. When you have a contingency plan in place before disaster strikes you can move and act without having to think about it during the crisis. Automatic pilot can work wonders.
3. Keep your emotions in check. Certainly when disaster strikes we might feel like falling apart or running away, however, the best response would be to keep as cool as possible.
When we react with fear, anxiety, or paralysis, we lose important minutes, possibly seconds that can make the difference in the outcome. Having a plan (point #2) helps keep your emotions steady when things go awry.
4. Take action. Don't wait for a crisis to resolve itself. Assess what's within your control and then take whatever actions are necessary to mitigate the situation. Standing by helplessly and not acting can make you feel worse.
Even though you may not have a lot of control over the crisis, do what you can to contain, manage, or lessen the impact.
5. Seek support. We don't have to handle crises on our own. There are many wonderful family members, friends, support groups and professionals that are there to help when life or life situations get difficult.
In the event of a group crisis, communities often come together and offer each other exceptional strength and support. You never need to feel you are alone.
6. Be patient. A crisis often has its own timetable. While we may wish it to be over ASAP, we have no choice but to see a crisis through to its conclusion.
In the case of a health pandemic, for example, it is difficult to interupt the process once it ignites. The best you can do is deal with it as positively and proactively as possible. While it is normal to get frustrated, anxious and impatient when we have limited control over a situation, be patient with yourself and your broad range of emotions.
7. Learn the lessons inherent in every adversity. There is nothing like a crisis to make you re-evaluate your priorities. Quite often we forget what's important or take for granted the wonderful freedoms and opportunities we possess.
Crises can also expose our vulnerabilities. We may discover weaknesses in our processes (business practices, personal practices), how we conduct ourselves (neglect health, personal interactions) or our psychological health (emotional fragility, inability to cope).
Discovering our vulnerabilities gives us the opportunity to work on and strengthen weak or ineffective areas in our lives.
8. Resolve to improve. Once a crisis has passed resolve to take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again. Indeed a crisis can be the wakeup call needed to propel you into necessary action whether to improve your health, fortify your business practices, or just to be more aware of potential threats to your well being. Seize and apply the lessons!
9. Enjoy life! Crises are a part of life. No one escapes difficulties and adversity. Once you've survived a crisis congratulate yourself for getting through it and be grateful. Know that good has come from it and that you're ultimately better for it.
✔ Exercise – it releases calming, soothing endorphins
✔ Listen to music – helps you transcend time and space
✔ Write in your journal – helps relieve anxiety and verbalizes your feelings
✔ Walk along the beach or a nature trail – being out in fresh air calms and improves perspective
✔ Read – as with music reading can take you to a different time and place
✔ Meditate - calms and relaxes you
✔ Watch a humorous movie or television show – laughter is a great way to release stress
✔ Engage in any activity that takes you away from an unhelpful frame of mind