Panic And Pace

Woman having Panic attack in workplace
by Vance Larson

Some days when it hits the fan, I remind myself that not everything needs to be done in real-time, this was the biggest takeaway from being a crisis counselor for 20 years. In reality, we often work ourselves up to believing that everything must happen in real-time. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Trying to get everything done when we’re in a heightened state, will often produce poor results and or mistakes. Mistakes often require even more time to correct. So when panic hits, I observe my pace.

Pace. Ah… the ultimate antidote to panic. By slowing down, you’re afforded the opportunity to think clearly. You’re not letting your body’s natural defense system {fight or flight} override common sense. This is so important to self-preservation. When we’re in panic mode, all we can think about is being safe. But it’s ironic that when we’re in the mode, we rarely act safely. We think faster than we can process. Hence, called fight or flight. We react rather than respond. And that’s when we usually make things worse. A common example I often use is the “Oh No” email. Ever react to someone while mad, via email or text? You bang out your witty retort and hit send… Oh No! You think, I can’t believe I just sent that. Of course, you have. More relationships have ended over the “Oh No” email than you could imagine. At least that has been my experience in my private practice.

I know it sounds counter intuitive, but pace beats panic.

So what are we talking about here? We are talking about finding some control in out-of-control situations. When responding as a crisis counselor, my first responsibility was to respond, not react. Going slow and getting it right in real time, often made the difference between a good and bad outcome. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but pace beats panic.

Not every crisis needs a reaction, let alone an overreaction. And when we observe our pace, we tend to see things a little more clearly. And while it is true that slow and steady doesn’t necessarily win the race, it does however allow for us to finish the race because panic requires energy. Nervous energy, and if we haven’t taken the time {or the training} to deal with panic or crisis situations, there is a strong likelihood we will get it wrong. So may your first thought in panic, be pace.

Book a one-on-one session with Vance Larson, C.H.H.C., M.Ht, and CTC Life, Life coach and counselor here.
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