How to Keep Emotional Control During a Crisis

Throughout your life, you’re going to face a number of different crises, including both small-scale and large-scale events. You may have to deal with the aftermath of a critical car accident or a similar personal trauma, or you may be concerned about the effects of a much further-reaching event, like the spread of a pandemic like COVID-19.

Whatever the case, managing your emotions during the crisis is critical to your long-term success.

Why Emotional Management Is Important
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why emotional management is so important:

· Decision making. People in control of their emotions make much better decisions. Otherwise, your emotions can dictate your course of action. If you’re afraid, you might react to a stimulus prematurely. If you’re irritable, you might overreact to a concerning situation. But if you’re calm, you’ll think through your options and you’ll be able to incorporate more logic into your thought processes.

· Social effects. Panic and other strong emotions “emotional circuit breaker,” a way to break this cycle of negative thoughts.

Usually, this means taking yourself out of whatever situation is responsible for your negative emotions. It might mean stepping out of a room, withdrawing from a specific group of people, or avoiding reading the news on social media for a few days.

Learn to Meditate
There are many varieties of meditation, but all of them are intended to help you gain more control over your thoughts and feelings. You won’t experience the benefits right away; instead, most of the benefits from meditation come from practicing it, consistently, over a long period of time. Commit to daily practice, even if it’s just for sessions of a few minutes each. Soon, you’ll feel in much better control of your emotions.

Surround Yourself With Different People
Next, start surrounding yourself with different groups of people. This is helpful for a few reasons. First, it’s going to break you out of your echo chamber; people who experience panic and anxiety tend to cluster together and exacerbate each other’s negative feelings. Finding new people can give you a new perspective, or give you different insights you can use to manage your emotions.

This is also a good way to socialize more frequently—and socializing is good for your mood and your health.

Think Big-Picture
Finally, try to think big-picture during a crisis. Most crises feel like the end of the world in the moment, but are only temporary in their effects. Is this something that’s going to impact your life in a week? What about a month? In 10 years, are you going to think back to this moment? In most cases, the answer is no, and you can find comfort in that.
There are some emotions you simply won’t be able to help, but for the most part, you have control over your own thoughts and feelings. When you experience anxiety about the future, or when you feel like you’re in the middle of an Earth-shattering crisis, take a moment and use these strategies to regain your emotional control.