How strategies help you achieve your goals in a crisis

How strategies help you achieve your goals in a crisis

A crisis is danger, and danger is stress. In such a situation, the brain begins to rely on basic protective instincts - running, hiding, surviving. The program director of Forbes Ontology, psychologist and coach tells how to develop strategies based on your instincts to see and take advantage of the opportunities that a crisis presents

Crisis is often referred to as a time of opportunity, but there are nuances. Any crisis shows one simple thing - the system in which we exist is no longer capable of existing at its current level. And opportunities arise only because new perspectives open up. We may or may not like them, but they open up - and they are new, unknown. 

When confronted with the unknown, we choose different models of behavior and methods of coping with stress - coping strategies. There are not many of these strategies and they all correlate with basic survival instincts - to attack, to run away, to play dead. Someone sees a crisis - and immediately runs away, maybe without figuring out where. Someone begins to show aggression, and someone freezes, falls into a kind of anabiosis. In this context, it should be understood that instinct always leads to survival, but deprives you of life. Such is the paradox. 

Because to live means to try, to feel, to develop and to discover one's possibilities. For instinct to turn into a conscious strategy, so that we can actually make decisions, set goals, be effective and live rather than survive, we need to connect emotional intelligence.

Instincts and decisions

Emotional intelligence shows up at the point where instinct collides and connects with the ability to analyze. Here's a simple example. Let's say you are afraid of snakes. You go into a dark room, and there, in the darkness, you find a tie curled up, thrown on the floor - you easily imagine this tie as a snake, and you become frightened, freezing. That's how your instinct kicks in.

But you can use logic and say to yourself, "Wait, why are there snakes in a Moscow apartment, let me turn on the light and see what's there. That's how emotional intelligence comes out, you become aware of the fear and work with it.

Crisis does the same thing as a snake - it scares you. It's like something in a dark room that we react to before we can see it and realize it.

Where to run and why

Those who instinctively choose an escape strategy want to mobilize all their resources and strength. It seems that you need to do something urgently, learn languages and programming, go through ten online marathons, work a hundred times more. But there is a trap here - not only can you run to the unknown, but you can also run out of steam along the way.

Because even in new circumstances, the global goals remain the same as they were. If a girl dreams of getting married, the crisis is a great opportunity, for example, to try online dating. If she panics and starts to learn Japanese, then most likely it will not lead her to the goal or will lead, but indirectly and very soon.

So it is important to slow down a little bit, sit down and think about what your goals, tasks, ideas, what important things you've been putting off because you haven't found the time, what resources you have today to start implementing what you've planned.

Another danger lies in the fact that fear encourages you to work with tripled strength, but because of the crisis you have no more strength - in the best case, it is the same as it was. It is important to build a daily routine, to be disciplined in your efforts, so as not to work yourself up to exhaustion.

To even things out, you can do basic, accessible things like exercising, meditating, and taking a cold shower. These practices help reduce physical stress levels to a minimum, pull yourself out of it and reach a plateau where you can already think about development.

What to do about aggression

Another common but dangerous way to deal with stress is to "hit" the offender, to show aggression. In this case, the offender is circumstances, but it is useless to pour out aggression on them - you cannot do anything about the virus, the global crisis, the decisions made by the government.

Out of helplessness, we begin to pour it out on our loved ones or turn it on ourselves, and that's how autoaggression comes about. 

It is possible to fight it, but it is difficult - you need to have a high level of awareness, to admit to yourself that you have accumulated anger inside, that you are discharging it somewhere in the wrong place. Direct emotions in the right direction, to deal with them can help a professional - psychologist, therapist, coach.

How to get out of anabiosis

Another strategy is to wait it out, go to a power-saving mode, freeze. This is a normal reaction - anxiety in the face of the unknown can really paralyze, in addition, such a strategy is beneficial in terms of survival. In principle, our brain always prefers the path of least resistance, and in a situation of danger it starts trying to save energy in case of a conditional nuclear war.

Therefore, the brain has its own benefit, while the human being, as a personality, has his own goals. They must be separated.

The good news is that no anabiosis lasts forever, it is possible to come out of it. To begin with, you need to be aware that you are in it, to feel it on a physical level. This is not just a vague state, but specific sensations in the body, emotions, and thoughts.

For example, you woke up in the morning and thought: "Shit, there's a virus outside, I can't go to work, I won't make any money, damn it. From that moment on you lost your strength. What exactly happened? Fatigue, sadness, detachment, lethargy appeared. You can put up with them, go watch a show, eat. But you can figure out where these feelings come from, what specific thought provoked them? When you manage to find this thought, you can begin auto-training. It consists not in the fact that you have everything bad, and you say, "I have everything good.

On the contrary, you acknowledge the problem and try to look at it more broadly: "Why did I decide that everything is bad? How bad? Is it really that bad?" And all of a sudden it turns out that you're healthy, that you're already fine, that your wife is a close, dear person around you, that you're okay and it's within your power to do at least something.