Fight-or-flight. It’s our body’s natural reaction to when we are scared – the result of us perceiving a situation as threatening. Admist the adrenaline rushing through your body, you must make an important decision in less than a second: stand your ground or try and find somewhere safe to hide. It’s a simple biology lesson that we all know very well. But what is not included in this basic lesson is what it FEELS like to have your body go into sensory overload. Blood rushes to your head. Your pulse races. Pupils dilate. You suddenly feel like you can’t take long enough breathes.
Your body is on red alert and it’s telling you to do something NOW.
With so much going on, it’s not much of a surprise that you become more reactive versus logical, unable to think things through reasonably. You never know how you will react until you are put into a highly stressful situation such as an Active Shooter scenario. You may cry. You may be unable to move. But the one thing you should NEVER do is panic. Panicking not only puts you at risk but your friends and loved ones as well. The key to any emergency situation is to stay calm. By staying calm, you can take note of your environment, find potential escape routes, and properly relay to emergency responders details about your situation should you be able to call 9-1-1.
Some relaxation techniques which can help both you and other victims in case of an emergency include:
A quick progressive relaxation which only takes a minute, of squeezing and releasing all the muscles in the body isometrically and simultaneously, three times, will reduce stress in the body and immediately relax you.
Breathing. Simply taking a minute to breathe in to the count of three, hold to the count of three, and breathe out to the count of three, repeated three times, while saying and focusing each time on the word “relax” will automatically calm the mind.
Create a visualization. Close your eyes for one minute and focus your mind on some calming cue, for example, a place that you go to relax… a beach… the mountains… and hold that image three times to the count of three. This will reduce your blood pressure, lower your heart rate and reduce stress.
(Original article from The Huffington Post by Dr. Gail Gross | July 7)