How to Manage Crisis – Before and During

No one ever knows how they will actually react when a crisis hits. We might imagine how we will behave when we watch thriller movies or hear about actual crisis events on the news, but when a crisis hits, everything changes. Here are some vital pieces of information to carry with you if you ever find yourself in a crisis situation:


How to Manage Crisis – Breathing

When you go through a crisis, your body goes into what is known as the “fight or flight” hormonal response. Your adrenaline goes up and your brain functioning decreases. This makes it nearly impossible to think critically or control your actions. In fact, when your body goes into this mode, the only functions you can control are your blinking and your breathing.  However, way to get out of this mode is through proper breathing. The correct breathing will allow your heart and brain the oxygen needed to come out of that mode, letting you make calculated decisions again. Read more on fear and its affect on the body in Gavin De Becker’s book “The Gift of Fear”.

How to Manage Crisis – Trusting your “gut”

Our greatest enemy before a crisis happens is rationalization. While humans are the most intelligent species, we still have base instincts like other animals that allow us to sense danger. Many crisis victims will later talk about the beginning of the event, how “something didn’t feel right.”  We are also socialized to be civil and polite, to downplay events that could actually be dangerous instead of assuming the worst. We might see something suspicious—a man in the workplace elevator who gave off a strange vibe, or perhaps a woman making strange threats at the front desk—but then we talk ourselves down that it is “probably nothing.”  Trust your instincts, they will often raise your awareness appropriately.

How to Manage Crisis – Being mentally prepared

Taking it one step beyond trusting your instincts, it is important to be one step ahead of crisis situations. At your workplace, know where the exits are and how you would get to them if necessary. Find good locations to hide in your building if running is not an option. Imagine scenarios, both likely and unlikely, that could happen in your work environment and assess the best ways to react. Even if none of these situations occur, or if one occurs in a way you never expected, you will be more equipped to handle a crisis because you were mentally preparing yourself an incident.  Encourage your employer to provide you with training to do just that.  OSHA requires it.  Want more information?  Contact us today.