How to Prioritize Danger

As humans, we often fear or panic over things which may happen in the future and for which there is no evidence at the moment. The lights might be turned off because ‘The utility bill is due at the end of the month.’ Or, ‘Southern Colorado might have a blizzard in a week, so we need to go to the store and stock up on everything right now.’ Or, ‘There was a bump in the road, I need to go back and look right now. Because someone may have gotten hurt and I may have hit them without ever seeing them.’ I won’t say that any of these things will never come to fruition. However, the odds are very favorable that none of these ever really will.

Is it wise to take precautionary measures? Yes. Is it a good thing to panic over things that have little chance of happening? Not so much. And yet, to the person having the panic attack, it is very real, and drastic measures must be immediately taken. How do you help this person down from near hysteria?

Start by talking to them calmly and ask them if they see anything within a 3 inch to a 6-inch radius around their body that poses an immediate danger. The answer is usually no. If there is, help the person to decide if it is a real danger or only a perceived possibility.

Next, ask them if there is anything within 18 inches of their body threatening danger. Again this usually has a negative response and follow-through is the same as the paragraph above. Next question, is there anything in the room that’s an obvious threat. From there go to the block and then the neighborhood.

You can go as far as you need to with this. Usually by the time you get to the neighborhood, the person you’re talking with starts to understand and feels better. Just because somebody occasionally feels overly upset about something, does that not mean that they have a medical or mental problem. Given the right circumstances, anyone may show this type of fear. If this is a full-time ongoing problem, the person may want to speak with a professional about it. If not, make it one less thing to worry about.

Author: Mike Balof

Mike Balof, MEd, develops intensive, interactive courses which have helped contract manufacturing and nonprofit institutions. He taught youth and adults seeking employment to better represent themselves, leading many of them to successful careers. Mike taught in corporate training, teaching adults and high school students to build computers, work as a team, and to identify and fix problems using a myriad of tools from Total Quality Management(TQM), to 8-D, to Six Sigma. Mike now turns his talents to helping fellow veterans reach their objectives and desires through continuous performance improvement. As we start to live in a post knowledge world, where a doubling of common knowledge shrinks from months to days, our essential skills will include how we interact with those around us. Mike believes there is hope for growth and opportunity for everyone. Everyone has the opportunity to retool and find the career they want. Mike strives to present students of all ages, abilities, and means with a full plate of options for learning.

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