Keep a cool head

“Pressure” and “stress” has been on my mind lately. I have witnessed over the past two weeks people just come apart at the seams over what I consider nothing. People get wrapped up in their own world and loose perspective. It happens to all of us – but I try to keep that fact right in front of me and stay in control.

I do visualization exercises periodically where I put myself in different situations and envision how I would handle them. My goal with these practices is to hopefully decrease the stress – and the shock and surprise that I will feel – should I find myself in a similar situation. ┬áMaking decisions when out of control and not thinking right generally leads to negative results. My younger-self with a hot temper demonstrated that many times. I learned from my mistakes and feel today that overall – I have a pretty cool head.

Imagine getting news that a few nukes detonated in several cities across the United States. You have prepared for something like this for the past few years. Do you panic and dress up in your favorite tacti-cool gear and start patrolling your neighborhood with an AR strapped to your back? No – stay calm. Evaluate the developing situation. Talk to your neighbors and communicate with your network of like-minded friends (you have those, right?). If possible – communicate with others in cities far away to see how populations are responding. Make educated decisions rather than over-reactions.

Can you keep your cool in a stressful situation?


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  1. Reviewing scenarios can be helpful for many people as it obviously is for you.

    It might be helpful to think of control slightly differently. There are lots of things we can’t control – we can’t control the weather, Congress, POTUS, the massive corporations, or diseases like cancer, etc. However, in as much as we are able given our current condition of health, age and disability, we can make the decision to take charge of our own lives. We can accept what has happened and make a decision to do what is best for us and our families. Then, bearing in mind our needs, values and certain social restraints we take action. Taking charge of our own lives and taking action with a full awareness of long and short term consequences are indicators of good mental and physical health.

  2. I think I am at my best in crisis situations…that’s why I worked in the ER! I’ve grown rather complacent since I’ve been away from that world, i think…Like you, Rourke, I do envision scenarios and how I would deal with them…but I also agree with Harriet that we have to look at what WE can control…Much like the education I provide in my daily job, there are many outside things we can’t control, and if you focus on those, you lose site of just what you can do to maintain some sense and action of control. ..I am a ‘control freak’ admittedly, and it’s hard for me to give up that control, but in some situations I have to admit that I am not the one with all the knowledge…Thats why DH and I are such a good fit, and work well together…but also learn from each other…we are old enough to realize and understand that NEITHER of us have full control…and we also both realize that there is only ONE who has full control…so we learn new skills from each other all the time…DH is making sure I can run assorted equipment, taught me how to plug a tire last weekend, that kind of thing…he’s queasy about medical stuff, but knows some basics…

    So, don’t worry about what you can’t control (hard for us control freaks yes it is) and focus on what you CAN control!

  3. Frustrated as wife of 52 years allows me a couple of preps but is against food an says Water takes up too much space. we are in a flood plane and have six or seven dams above us an earthquake could wet us if all Dams go out.

  4. My greatest concerns on stress is in a day to day scenario with elevated expectations every day. Modern day stress puts our bodies in a constant “fight or flight” mode, wreaking havoc on your hormones (Elevated cortisol and lowered testosterone levels). Keeping a good health helps keeping stress at bay, and trust me, I’ve learned that the hard way! In addition to keeping a (relatively) good health, whenever I feel stress creeping up on me at work, I immediately ask permission to take a personal break, go for a short walk, and go out to the bicycle shed and do 10-15 push-ups or squat-thrusts and 5-10 pull-ups. Doing those few exercises gets my heart-rate up and complements a response for the “fight or flight” mode my body is in and flushes most of the cortisol from my bloodstream. That’s effective stress management!

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