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Dealing with a Crisis

Crisis can bring out the best and the worst in us. Which it will be depends, largely, on the individual in crisis. Here are 5 ways you can respond more effectively to the crisis in your life.

Don't wait for others to take the lead. Be the leader and create the change that's needed.

I know that I don’t do my best thinking when I am stressed. My brain tends to go all fuzzy, and thinking becomes like slogging through pudding. Obviously, it is when we are in crisis that we could most benefit from a good dose of critical and strategic thinking.

So how can we go from foggy headed muddling to clear strategic thinking during a crisis? I, personally, do 5 things in this order.

1) Allow a little time for wallowing.
Crises are shocking and if my brain isn’t functioning well, trying to force it isn’t going to help. Taking a little time to absorb what has happened helps me to accept it so that I can deal with it.

2) Commit to fixing the problem.
It is very easy, while wallowing, to just give in and accept what has happened as something that can’t be changed. And that might be true, as when someone dies. However, it doesn’t matter how bad things are that have happened. We now have to decide, what we are going to do about it. Are we going to try and work to make things better despite it all? I think so. Having a purpose in life helps us to find the motivation to work towards positive change. Making a commitment to create that change is a good first step.

3) Take a deep breath.
Wanting to fix a problem and knowing how to fix a problem are 2 different things. By taking a deep breath, I help myself to calm down and remind myself to think rational and strategically about what needs to be done to fix the problem.

4) Develop a strategy.
In crisis, it is very easy to feel rushed to a solution. But if that solution doesn’t work, you will have wasted valuable time. By taking the time to assess what has happened and what might be done to fix it, you ensure that when you do act, you have a reasonable chance of success.

5) Just do it!
It is amazing how taking constructive action helps overcome the stress and anxiety of the crisis itself. This is probably why first responders and people who volunteer to help others during times of need seem so calm and collected when everyone else is running around in a dazed state. They have decided to do something to help. And by helping others, they find that they often help themselves.

 

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for these helpful tips Jen! In addition to these techniques, I have also found that we can help to prepare ourselves for a crisis before it comes. Through a practice of cultivating a value system that helps to shift our perspectives about what is important, internalizing wise teachings, etc. we can learn to live differently. As such, when crisis arises, we are immediately prepared and less surprised, and a kind of easy flow comes. Eastern philosophers referred to this as ‘skillful means’ in living. Ancient Western philosophers used a word that might be translated as ‘excellence’ in living.

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