Stay Out of the "What If" Rabbit Hole to Avoid Panic In High-Stress Situationspsychology

Stay Out of the "What If" Rabbit Hole to Avoid Panic In High-Stress Situations

Eric Ravenscraft , Gizmodo Media

When the pressure's on, your brain can switch to panic mode in a hurry. Keep your calm by avoiding the rabbit hole of "what if"s your mind can generate.

Few professions have to deal with as much pressure as bomb disposal experts, so advice site Barking Up the Wrong Tree asked one how they stay so calm. The unnamed Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal expert said one key method is to avoid what they call "the rabbit hole." That's when your brain goes into "What if?" mode, but never actually helps solve the problem:

With any device that's improvised we talk about "rabbit holes." You can go down the rabbit hole of "What if they put in this? What if they included this bit of circuitry or this kind of switch or this crazy new device or circuit board or whatever?" The opportunities for people to construct new and ingenious and totally insidious IEDs is just infinite. It's possible when you're looking at the device to go down a rabbit hole of "It could be this, it could be this, it could be these 10,000 different things..."

You can imagine a million ways that your situation could go wrong, but unless any of those are actually happening, it's not going to help you fix your problems. Instead, focus on the problem that's actually in front of you. Ask yourself what you need to do to solve the problem now, rather than what you imagine could go wrong at some point in the future.

How To Be Calm Under Pressure: 3 Secrets From A Bomb Disposal Expert | Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Photo by Jenna.

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