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How to Stay Calm in Crisis

It’s not the end of the world…but it sure feels that way. Here's how to get through it.

Your computer dies along with your big presentation that you (oops) haven’t saved yet. You smash your brand new car. You receive an upsetting e-mail from your partner. We've all been there, no? While we can’t necessarily solve your current crisis, we can give you a few tips for getting through it without going insane or making things even worse.

Stop. First, assess if you need to take immediate action. Sometimes, things aren't actually urgent -- they just feel that way. Stop and ask yourself whether or not the situation is totally pressing. If not, take a break. When you come back to it, the situation might not seem quite as monumental as you thought.

Breathe. If stepping aside isn’t an option… breathe. In and out. Slowly. Give someone you trust a call, and get some feedback. No matter how awful the situation is, there’s time to loop in a second opinion. (In fact, the worse a situation is, the more important it is to bring in someone else’s voice.)

Wait. Don’t commit anything in writing -- not on Facebook, not on Twitter, and definitely not in an e-mail. Run anything you want to say past someone else first, and come back to it once you’ve had time to get past the initial rush of feelings.

Think. Take a minute to think about whether the situation actually qualifies as a crisis, or if the real crisis is your feelings about the situation. If your reaction to what's happening is the real culprit, try to stop and consider what about it is upsetting you so.

Nestpert: Judith F. Kashtan, MD, is a practicing psychiatrist in the Twin Cities and past president of the Minnesota Psychiatric Association. Find out more at kashtan.yourmd.com

-- The Nest Editors

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