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How to Calm Yourself During a Crisis

Encountering a crisis or an extremely tense situation can evoke a torrent of stress responses. Here's a step-by-step guide to help navigate the storm and find your calm amidst the chaos.

Step 1: Acknowledge Your Feelings

The first crucial step is acknowledging that you're feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Recognizing your emotional state is essential in managing your reaction.

  • Identify the Emotion: Take a moment to recognize what you're feeling—is it fear, anxiety, or anger?

  • Accept the Reaction: Understand that it's normal to have such reactions during high-pressure situations.

Step 2: Find a Safe Space

If possible, distance yourself from the immediate environment where the crisis is unfolding.

  • Physical Relocation: Move to a different room or a calmer environment, if you can.

  • Mental Retreat: If you cannot leave physically, try to disengage mentally by focusing your thoughts elsewhere temporarily.

Step 3: Practice Deep Breathing

Deliberate deep breathing can help slow down the heart rate and promote a sense of calm.

  • Inhale Slowly: Breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of four.

  • Hold Your Breath: Hold the breath for a count of four.

  • Exhale Slowly: Exhale through your mouth for a count of four.

Repeat this cycle several times until you feel your body begin to relax.

Step 4: Use Grounding Techniques

Ground yourself to prevent panic and stay focused on the present.

  • 5-4-3-2-1 Method: Identify 5 things you can see, 4 you can touch, 3 you can hear, 2 you can smell, and 1 you can taste.

  • Physical Grounding: Touch or hold onto a physical object to feel anchored to your surroundings.

Step 5: Focus on What You Can Control

During a crisis, it's easy to feel powerless. Regain a sense of control by focusing on what you can influence.

  • List Actionable Steps: Make a list of immediate, achievable steps you can take to mitigate your situation.

  • Concentrate on Tasks: Direct your energy toward these tasks, one step at a time.

Step 6: Seek Support

Social support is vital during stressful times.

  • Reach Out: Contact a trusted friend, family member, or colleague to talk things through.

  • Professional Help: Consider reaching out to a professional counselor or a crisis hotline if the situation is severe.

Step 7: Practice Mindfulness or Meditation

Mindfulness or meditation can help you stay grounded in the present moment, rather than worrying about future outcomes.

  • Meditative Focus: Concentrate on your breath or practice guided meditation.

  • Mindful Observations: Pay attention to your surroundings without judgment, simply observing.

Step 8: Limit Stimulus

Too much information or environmental chaos can heighten anxiety.

  • Reduce Noise: Use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones if you're in a noisy environment.

  • Minimize Information Overload: Take a break from news and social media if they're contributing to your stress.

Step 9: Engage in Physical Activity

If you can, incorporate light physical activity to help reduce stress hormones.

  • Stretch: Perform some gentle stretches to release muscle tension.

  • Walk: Take a brief walk, even if it's just around the room.

Step 10: Follow Up with Self Care

After the crisis or tense situation has passed, engage in self-care activities that you enjoy, and which contribute to your emotional recovery.

  • Enjoy Downtime: Engage in a hobby or activity that brings you joy.

  • Reflect: Consider journaling about the experience to process your emotions constructively.

  • Rest: Ensure you get adequate sleep to recover physically and mentally.


Crisis situations can be disorienting, but by using this step-by-step guide, you can equip yourself with the tools needed to maintain composure and resilience. Remember to be patient with yourself as you navigate through these challenging moments. It's not about avoiding stress entirely but about managing how you react to it.

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