Women

Step up – don’t melt down – when disaster strikes

Even if your disaster default is more ‘fall apart’ than ‘fix it’, you can still be the go-to girl in a crisis. The trick? “Understanding you response and tweaking it so it works for, not against, you.’ Says consultant psychotherapist Adrianna Irvine. Here’s how to max your reaction…

The pretender

When the proverbial hits, you pretend everything’s fine and hope it goes away. “Pretenders hate pressure and often escape into TV or shopping instead of dealing with it,” says anxiety consultant Jenny Brookes.

Description: “Pretenders hate pressure and often escape into TV or shopping instead of dealing with it,”

“Pretenders hate pressure and often escape into TV or shopping instead of dealing with it,”

Maximise! Brookes recommends using active, not passive, avoidance. Instead of films or the fridge, try swimming, a mind puzzle or dancing. “These engage your SubConscience, so your brain generates solutions while you ‘evade’.” Clever!

And try… Discussing options while doing something else. “Multi-tasking makes the crisis seem less intense and easier for you to broach,” explains Brookes.

The emo-wreck

You’re usually strong, but when disaster falls, so do your tears. Why? “It’s likely your amygdalae (the parts of the brain that deal with emotion) are overcharged,” says Brookes. “This is caused by pent-up emotion, so in a crisis, you crack.”

Maximise! “List the numbers ten to one, writing your worst-case scenario first and working up to the bet and working up to the best possible result. It shifts you to positive thoughts that help you to cope,” says Brookes.

And try… When thinking about your choices, ditch ‘Do I have to?’ for ‘Do I want to?’ “This lifts the pressure,” adds Irvine.

The drama queen

You tell anyone who’ll listen about your Total. Overdraft. Nightmare. While sharing is good, it’s not if you’re sharing instead of acting.

Maximise! “Split the crisis into parts and tell each person about only one,” says Irvine. “After each char, do one thing about it.”

And try… To avoid close friends. “They may encourage chatting, not solving,” adds Irvine.

The whirlwind

Drama sends you into an unfocused tornado of activity until you crash and burn, having achieved little. “Instead of reacting to your body’s state of panic, focus on what the crisis demands,” says Irvine.

Maximise! “Make a huge list of everything you have to do in the next eight hours: meals, shopping, even emptying the bins,” says Irvine. “Now select the most important 75%, delegate 25% of that and prioritise the top three jobs remaining. Do the easiest first. This formula lets you feel in control and focuses you.”

And try… A warm drink. “It soothes your mental maelstrom,” says Brookes.

Keep calm and eat this!

Support your body with a meal that will relax you in 20 minutes

Smoked salmon sandwich on whole meal. Small salad. Green tea

Description: Keep calm and eat this

Keep calm and eat this

“Your stress hormone-producing adrenal glands will be in overdrive,” says medicinal chef Dale Pinnock. “The omega-3 in salmon calms the nervous system, and the carb/ protein mix regulates blood sugar, so you’ll have enough energy to get you through. The salad supplies magnesium (a muscle relaxant) and green tea has an amino acid called L-theanine – known for its ability to calm but maintain mental focus.”

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