7 Ways to Handle a Personal Crisis

May 06, 2019

When you're in crisis, you won’t be able to make the bad news in the big picture go away quickly, but you do have control over yourself, and you can focus on the vital things of life immediately. Let's take a look.

1. Connect sooner, and more, with those whom you are close to. Every bit of research in stress that science has amassed has verified this fact. The more connected you are to people who fill your heart, the less circumstances will affect you. Even my German Shepherd knows this, as in a thunderstorm he will come to find someone to be near. From monkey research to successful leadership teams in times of crisis, rule number one is get connected and stay connected. When a soldier lands in enemy territory, question number one is “where is my buddy?” If you are a leader in a company, make sure you do this with the ones who are depending on you to steady the ship.

2. Get back in touch with the things that will outlast the crisis, like your faith, your values, the things you will still believe in no matter what happens. The results that you have achieved came from ingredients of your person that you still carry around with you. The things that we call transcendent values carry that name for a reason ... they transcend everything that happens and govern the outcomes. To the believer, God is still on the throne, and to the capitalist, every downturn means a new season of opportunity is being created. Love, truth and courage will outlast this quarter. Rest in the big things that were here before the bubble and will be here after the current crash.

3. Remember your real assets. They have not gone away. Whatever you had in front of you, it came from somewhere: your talent, energy, brains, perseverance, networks, creativity, passion, and optimism. The results that you have achieved came from ingredients of your person that you still carry around with you. Nurture those, be grateful for them, grow them and trust that they will take you to a tomorrow just as good as whatever has been lost. And your personal assets are still there as well: the people and relationships that you love and value and that love and value you. Those are your true riches and with their support, you will not only be grounded in this time, but find the vision, inspiration and courage to create another tomorrow.

4. Stop the end-of-the-world thinking. Forget whether or not the glass is half full or half empty, even if it breaks, you can drink from a paper cup. So you won’t have all the perks you used to have and life won’t be so cushy. Research tells us that those things are not correlated with happiness anyway, so chill out. It is not the end of the world if you have to live in a smaller place. There may be a lot more value there.

5. Use this time to regroup, redefine, and retool. Don’t go into the next season carrying forward the losses of the past. Write those “ways” off and start something new. We should all use hard times to do the same sort of retooling in our personal lives. Do we care too much about things and outcomes that cannot really define us anyway? Have we lost touch with some things that are more important? Is it time to look at some patterns that are costing us more than we knew? Do we need to invest the only things we really have anyway, our time and energy, in some better instruments than we have been investing in? Like family, key relationships and personal/spiritual development? Or even in ones business life, to retool the ways, skills and practices that we were depending on? Don’t go into the next season carrying forward the losses of the past. Write those “ways” off and start something new.

6. Engage in spiritual and physical activities, such as prayer, meditation, confession, and exercise. All of these and other such practices have been shown to relieve stress and build a sense of being grounded. In addition, there are actual physiological changes that take place when they are practiced regularly.

7. Get out of yourself and help someone else. There are strong emotional, psychological and even physiological benefits to giving of yourself to others. So find a place to serve and to give. It will do you good, now and for the long term.

The ones who are doing well have not lost it all, even in a crisis. They still have the things that matter to them: their key relationships, like family and vitally close friends. Their values, their hearts, minds, and souls that travel with them are still full of the things that really bring life and hold loosely to the things that can’t.