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Tips for Avoiding Panic
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, November 2014

PANIC!

This is what so many of us did recently when EBOLA arrived from Africa to the States.

We need to remember that no matter what the reason for our distress, confusion, or uncertainty, PANIC NEVER HELPS! Panic mode leads us into "survival mode." When there, we cannot think clearly, problem solve, or make rational decisions.

We are missing a feeling of safety and security. We function in a state of fear which contributes to our feeling frightened and out of control.

Here are some tips to help you avoid panic and think clearly:

Get the Facts. - Thist is not always easy since information is unfolding. Going to an extreme, "WHAT IF?," can cause us to live in a "frightening" future rather than in a "reasoned present." This does not mean that we avoid making plans regarding how to take care for ourselves in the event of problems. It does mean we may have to go out of our way to avoid scary news reports and rumors that are not based on fact.

Minding our Health. - We can take care of ourselves in ways to prevent a variety of other types of illnesses. Now, as flu season approaches, we can be vigilant about washing our hands, keeping alcohol-based hand sanitizer in our cars and backpacks. Why? Because that helps us keep other viruses (and hopefully, a cold) at bay. There are lots of communicable diseases, the spread of which can be prevented by keeping our hands and faces clean.

Avoid "Old Stories" that Remind Us of Difficult Times in the Past (and Previous Panic). - These stories add to our feeling of distress and bring us further away from a sense of ease.

Ground Ourselves in this Present Moment. - Without revisiting the past or worrying about the future, we can stay exactly where we are and try to calm our body. Breathe deeply, count, visually "scan" our body as we try to relax specific areas, and notice and pay attention to what we are listening to, what we see, what we feel. We can make a conscious effort to be in THIS moment as a way to avoid feeding the panic.



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