Slow down and think. What you think you see is just the craziness in your head making you panic. And panic makes you stupid. You do things you’ll regret later. You break relationships and burn bridges. All because you panicked.
It happens to everyone at some point.
The unexpected happens and you are left scrambling to figure things out. Sometimes it’s about money. Other times it’s about love, your job, or what you think is going to happen in the next few days.
You aren’t prepared and so your brain starts to melt down. The uncertainty of what might happen forces you into imaging a million different nightmare scenarios.
None of them realistic. Or inspiring. Just the worst memories and outcomes that your brain can stitch together for you.
And so you act stupid.
Not because you are stupid — but because your brain makes you think you need to be stupid in order to survive. The “fight or flight” part of your brain is over-reacting. Big time. That makes you irrational and otherwise “out of your mind.”
Whatever you do next is usually the wrong move. And the consequences can effect the rest of your life.
So it’s better to avoid the stupidness that your brain tries to makes you do. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Don’t do anything for 24 hours — Be deliberate about NOT doing anything that comes to mind. If you can think about it, don’t do it. Most of the time, “sleeping on it” is a great way to avoid big mistakes.
- Imagine the best possible outcome — Take some time to dream a little. What if your biggest nightmare wasn’t all that bad after all? Think through only good options. You’ll probably find a way out.
- Be honest about your situation — It makes no sense pretending like the world is coming to the end if you only have a “mental hangnail”. Sometimes a fresh, hard look at your situation is enough to shake you out of your nonsense.
- Ask for help without whining — No one likes a wimp or a whiner. When you’re down-and-out, the worst possible person to be is the type of whiner that no one wants to help. So be careful.
- Breathe. Breathe. Breathe some more — Your brain needs all the oxygen that it can get. When you are feeling overwhelmed and under-prepared, the key is to stop and breathe. Pause. Blink your eyes. Breathe.
- Don’t get yourself in that situation in the first place — If you’re not in shape physically, financially, or mentally you’re doomed to a life of panic attacks. And it probably is mostly your own fault.
There’s no silver bullet to not being stupid.
The truth is that you can meltdown at any time for just about any reason. Despite the best of intentions and preparations, life can come at you sideways — leaving you gasping for air and explanations.
Just remember how important your response to panic really is. It can easily determine the rest of your life. If you’re not careful, you’ll burn bridges, alienate allies, and make it harder to achieve anything close to success.
What comes naturally is to lash out. To defend yourself. To be unrealistic about the danger ahead of you. To be stupid.
Maybe it’s time to stop letting your brain ruin your life.