How to Stay Calm in a Crisis

It can be so hard to keep calm in a crisis, but doing so has countless benefits for your physical and mental health. Keep reading to learn why it's so important to keep your cool, and some strategies to make it happen.
How to Stay Calm in a Crisis

Last update: 08 July, 2019

Staying calm in a crisis is essential if you want to be able to think clearly. The decisions you make in moments of crisis are critical, so it’s important that your negative emotions don’t influence the process. Exhaustion and desperation are bad company when you need precise, effective, and intelligent action.

On the other hand, when you stay calm, you can choose the right path during those tough moments. When you can make good choices in moments of crisis, the possibility that you’ll find a good solution to the problem increases significantly.

In threatening or dangerous situations, your body activates a defense system to help you escape. It’s a mechanism designed to protect you. Thanks to the evolution of this system, humans are able to avoid the dangers of the natural world. However, the body also responds to other kinds of threats.

Your alarm system is triggered when you feel that you’re in danger, whether or not the risk is real.

In these types of situations, your body immediately activates your stress mechanisms. Essentially, they’re preparing you for fight or flight. If you feel threatened in any way, you’ll start to feel symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, irritability, and anxiety, among others.

Because this is a natural mechanism to deal with danger, it’s important to properly manage your crises so that your stress doesn’t become chronic. Chronic stress, as most people know, can cause serious health problems over time.

A woman with a furrowed brow pressing on her temples.

Why Is it Important to Stay Calm in a Crisis?

Keeping your cool in the midst of a crisis helps you think more clearly and make better decisions. A clear mind can make the difference between the right choice and a mistake. In high-pressure situations, many people respond poorly. They become nervous, anxious, or indecisive, which has negative consequences for their well-being and for any potential conflict resolution.

Stressful events force you to take action to try and undo whatever happened. However, that isn’t always possible. Sometimes, you have to use conceptual tools to get through the crisis with the greatest degree of control possible.

Even the normal stress that you feel in a new or unpleasant situation can become chronic if you don’t manage it well. Chronic stress kills your motivation to start new projects or finish the ones you’re already working on.

Thus, if you want to safeguard your well-being in potentially stressful situations, you have to learn to control dissatisfaction, express your emotions, and stop feeding your frustration. Another strategy that can prove helpful is a realistic risk assessment during difficult situations. Let yourself live in the moment instead of worrying about future threats or problems.

A woman staying calm in a crisis.

The Benefits of Staying Calm in a Crisis

Keeping your cool in the midst of a crisis has benefits for your overall health. One of the most important advantages is that you won’t feel so distressed, so you’ll suffer less during an emergency.

It can also make it easier to isolate any negative thought patterns that are counterproductive in the moment.

Staying calm is good for your overall mental and physical well-being.

People tend to worry about things that have already happened and the things that are about to happen. The distress and confusion that leads to suffering often arises from this dichotomy between the past and the future.

Taking a deep breath, focusing on the present moment, and avoiding panic are some strategies that can help you in high-conflict situations. They might also help you come to terms with life in a world where nearly anything is possible, despite all the stress.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Wilson, P. (2005). Sabios consejos para mantener la calma. Madrid: Salamandra Ediciones.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.