We’ve all been there – the cold chill that runs down your spine when you’re in a situation where something could go wrong. That sense of impending disaster can be an uncomfortable and unsettling feeling, yet one that we must take seriously. It is a crucial alert system, as our minds are adept at sensing danger and better prepare us to keep us safe in unforeseen situations.
The sense of impending disaster can take on many forms. In extreme cases, it may be a sign of a mental health condition or disorder, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In others, it could be a sign of a physical health issue or even the prospect of a major life change. But more often, the sense of a looming disaster can be a reaction to everyday situations such as a job interview, a first date, or a financial situation.
The immediate reaction to the feeling is often fear. Our natural instinct is to guard ourselves from potential danger and preserve our safety. As part of the fight-or-flight response common in high-stress situations, the body releases hormones and excites the sympathetic nervous system as a way to prepare us for an emergency.
Thankfully, many of us are also equipped with a strong ability to assess our own risk and maintain control over the situation. Instead of allowing our sense of impending disaster to control us, we can take the steps to understand the source of the feeling, assess our own capabilities, and take action if needed to stay safe.
The first step to calming the sensation is to recognize what is causing it. By identifying the source, we can better assess the danger and take steps to protect ourselves. Recognition of the feeling is the first step in preparing ourselves to both process and self-manage the situation.
Taking control of our emotions is an important part of managing our sense of disaster. Utilizing deep breathing techniques, mindfulness, and diaphragmatic breathing can help control our heart rate, breathing patterns, and stress level. The goal is to bring our focus back to the present and help reduce anxiety.
If the feeling of impending disaster persists, it is useful to reach out for support. Identifying a trusted friend, family member, therapist, or support group, can help address potentially deep-rooted anxieties and fears. In professional therapy, a mental health provider can also create a customized plan to help individuals better manage and process difficult memories and emotions.
Overall, it is important to remember that the sense of impending disaster is a part of our mechanism of self-defense and should be heeded and respected. It is a sign of our wisdom and courageous nature, and not a weakness. With understanding and taking action, we can take control of our sense of impending disaster and manage any situation.