How to Stay Productive in Times of Panic
In this article, we will focus on how you can deal with stress since this is the most significant factor why a person starts to panic. It is hard to stay productive in times of panic. Panic is our body’s natural reaction to stressful situations, or when we experience fear and anxiety. When this happens, your heart starts pounding, and your breathing increases. You also feel that fear is consuming you, making you think that you are in danger even if you are not.
Stress is one of the main reasons why panic is triggered in a person, and it affects us in different ways. One of the most common situations is when we are under pressure. A good example is when you have a pile of tasks to do, or when you are in a time constraint to finish your project or report.
Stress kills a person’s health and productivity. Knowing how to control stress is the first step that you could do to avoid unintentionally panicking. Another solution that you can do is to rewire your brain. Learn how to work with it instead of against it, and use stress as an advantage.
Bad stress vs. Good stress
For you to know how to control stress, you must learn how to distinguish bad stress and good stress.
Bad stress is an acute stress that has developed due to severe anxiety that makes us feel that we need to respond or take action quickly. It also triggers the body’s stress response, or the fight or flight response. When the bad stress occurs repeatedly and takes a heavy toll, it starts to become chronic stress.
We also have good stress or what psychologists refer to as eustress. We feel this kind of stress when we are excited or when faced with a fun challenge. This stress makes us motivated and feels alive or excited about life.
How do you handle panic and stress to stay productive?
It starts by changing the way we deal with the situation. We can control the bad stress and convert it into good stress so that we can use it to our own advantage.
1. Use the adrenaline rush.
Stress gives you adrenaline and helps your body to react quickly. It is released when you are in a stressful, dangerous, exciting, or threatening situation. Adrenaline rush occurs when adrenaline circulates throughout your blood. As a result, you start to be in a heightened state of physical and mental alertness. When blood starts pumping to your veins together with adrenaline, it helps bring more oxygen to your brain. Thus, you become more focused, engaged, and mentally process information more efficiently.
2. Reframe bad stress
Bad stress gives you negative emotions. Reframing (or cognitive reframing) a stressful situation can actually help ease a negative experience or circumstance by basically coming up with a different interpretation. When you change the way you feel about a situation, you are also changing your experience.
An example of how you can reframe a stressful situation is by instead of telling yourself, “I can’t do it,” try saying, “You can do it!” instead. Yes, you read it right. Use “You can do it!” instead of “I can’t do it!” or “I can do it!” According to research by Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan, research participants who addressed themselves in the second or third person enables a person to regulate their emotions better. As a result, they felt calmer and more confident after talking to themselves.
Click this link to learn how you can manage stress, panic, and anxiety.
3. Accept that stress is a normal part of life
All of us experience stress regardless of what age you are or what social status you are in. We, human beings, are meant to feel stress because it signals us to fight or flight and keeps us alert to avoid danger. So rather than avoid stress or anxiety, we should just recognize the feeling as part of the experience.
When we view stress as a routine and a normal part of life, we become mentally strong and devote our efforts to think of solutions so that we can move forward instead of dwelling and complaining that we shouldn’t have to deal with this.
4. Redirect anxiety into a motivator
Having the right amount of anxiety makes you more alert without the feeling that you are in danger. This level of anxiety can be an excellent motivator and actually help you reach the peak of your performance. According to a published report in The Wall Street Journal, “Somewhere between checked out and freaked out lies an anxiety sweet spot… a person is motivated to succeed yet not so anxious that performance takes a dive. This moderate amount of anxiety keeps people on their toes, enables them to juggle multiple tasks, and puts them on high alert for potential problems.”
For example, if you are worried about what is going to be the outcome of your presentation next week in the board meeting, you might prepare by doing more research and practice to answer the probable questions of the board members.
5. Make time for morning rituals
Most of the top leaders have their own morning rituals. They accomplish more tasks and are more productive not only because they are early risers, but also because they have these good habits that they do from the moment they wake up. A morning ritual gets you into the right mindset. It helps you become more productive by organizing what you are supposed to at the start of your day. When you create a morning routine, you feel more accomplished because you have these daily goals laid out, and focused on getting them done one at a time.
A few examples of morning routines are:
- Making your bed
- Drinking a full glass of water
- Meditating in the morning
- Reading the newspaper
- Cuddling with someone you love
- Taking a cold shower
- Being grateful
- Taking your dog for a walk