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Mental Resilience In The Midst Of a Crisis

What is the secret to being successful in dealing with a crisis? How do you gain and develop mental resilience in such a way that you can function at your best capacity during a crisis?

Let’s discuss eight ways in which you can develop mental resilience

1. Preserve your mental energy

In any physical activity, your body has a certain amount of resources that you must preserve as well as possible and for as long as possible so as not to collapse.

The same goes for your mental resilience when dealing with a crisis. To preserve your mental resources for as much as possible, focus on the things you can influence instead of those you can’t.

Three thoughts to avoid:

  • Do not blame other people or circumstances
  • Do not occupy yourself with guilt
  • Do not get angry about the past

All these thoughts prevent you from advancing to the next change and saving yourself and/or your colleagues.

Useful tip: The internal locus of control

Concentrate on your internal locus of control: the degree to which you, as opposed to external forces (beyond your influence), have control over the outcome of events in your life.

Research proves that people and organizations with a strong internal locus of control – have a higher chance of dealing with crisis situations.

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2. Be flexible

Train your mind to see opportunities where others see challenges. “When a door closes, a window opens” – even an extreme event or a crisis situation can present some opportunities that are not visible at first or to everyone. Do not “stick” to doctrines and mechanisms, instead remember the reason they exist and focus on the

Useful tip: Simulations of a real-life event are a great way for training your mental resilience, as they put an emphasis on the stress factor and teach you how to train your mind for a crisis situation.

3. Identify events & how to respond to them

This is what is happening, and this is how I feel about it.

Take a few moments to quickly analyze what is happening, then respond. There is no room for wishful thinking, so focus solely on facts and the reality of the event.

Personal feelings need to be left aside; they might influence how you perceive reality, and this could have a negative influence on how you react to the situation.

4. Define challenges clearly

Focus on the facts: where you are, what you need to do, who you are with, what resources are available to you, how much time you have, and all the other relevant aspects of your situation (discover more about the characteristics of an extreme incident here).

Think about your big goal and then divide it into smaller challenges (small projects/missions that you “can swallow” at a time).

Thinking about the big objective might be intimidating, but as you divide it into smaller challenges and go through them one by one, you can monitor your advancement.

This in itself is a big reinforcement factor that can positively influence your mental resilience.

5. Identify your assets

Accept what is happening and try to come up with solutions. You will need to adapt, improvise, and reinvent yourself. Train your mind to identify those objects, elements, or things that can become assets in your mission.

How can you use them to your advantage?

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6. Accept uncertainty as a natural state of things

Accept that you do not know what will happen next, but that you are working towards creating the best possible outcome for you and/or your team.

Anyone who cannot accept uncertainty will have trouble making decisions that lead to an outcome. However, in a crisis situation you do not know when uncertainty ends – so you need to decide on the spot and as quickly as possible.

7. Make assumptions on which you base your decisions. Do NOT deviate

Follow a train of thought: if this, then that. In any crisis situation, you might need to work with assumptions at some point. Accept those assumptions as real and base your decisions on them.

Attention: Once you took a decision, do not deviate from it until you reach your objective.

8. Concentrate your efforts on the decisions you made

Continue concentrating efforts according to the decisions you made.

Remember: with each decision you take, you are one step closer to ending the crisis you are in. At some point, it will be over and things will get back to normal.

Repeat these mental tricks regularly and use them during a crisis situation. This ensures that YOU are in control of your mind, which in turn means that you can make sense of your environment and come up with lifesaving solutions for yourself and your comrades.

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Is your mind ready to go through a crisis situation?

If you work as a first responder, in the military or in a medical center, going through an extreme incident or crisis situation is not a matter of IF, but of WHEN.

Extreme Simulations mental resilience and leadership programs are managed by experts who previously headed mental preparedness programs in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) for thousands of combat soldiers and officers.

The knowledge accumulated over the years is not only extremely relevant and valuable but vital for training organizations and corporations to cope with extreme stress situations.

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