How to deal with panic in emergency situations?

Your opponents are fear and frustration in an emergency situation. Kick them in the butt! Problems have to be solved. Successes have to set in.

from Martin Gebhardt | Survival | reading time 3 Min
Updated on 30 May 2023 16.035 views 100% found this guide helpful
How to deal with panic in emergency situations?

Martin Gebhardt

From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.

👉 The key facts from this guide

  • Panic: Panic can cause intense anxiety and make it difficult to control a situation. It can be triggered by various factors, such as isolation, health threats, or mass panic.
  • Control: To control panic, it is important to stay calm, breathe deeply, and calm oneself. Self-influence or autosuggestion can help with this.
  • Practice: Practice self-influence by repeating positive thoughts and combining them with relaxation methods such as meditation or yoga.
  • Group Panic: In a group, panic can be contagious. Help others to stay calm and build trust.
  • Problem-Solving: Problems should be addressed and solved to reduce anxiety and frustration and achieve success.
  • Important: It is important to prepare for dealing with panic in emergencies and to develop coping strategies.

Have you ever been really panicked?

Maybe as a child, you got lost and didn't know where you were - completely helpless.

The same thing can be observed when aspiring pilots learn to fly and there are no reference points visible (due to fog). Inexperienced pilots panic as a result.

And even worse: mass panic.

It is "contagious".

Panic means intense fear.

If you react panicky, the situation is no longer controllable.

What can you do about it?

That's what I want to show you today: how to get the panic under control.

Panic is hard to control

Your life is probably organized normally. I hope so normal that your primary needs are met.

You sleep enough, you can eat and drink whenever you want, and you have a roof over your head.

These satisfied needs give you security. Only then can you live motivated and controllable.

But what if the opposite happens?

There are situations that are typical for panic. They arise when you unexpectedly find yourself in a life-threatening situation.

You are not physically and mentally capable of coping with the situation.

You are helpless and powerless.

Panic makes you helpless and powerless. You are not able to cope with the situation.
Panic makes you helpless and powerless. You are not able to cope with the situation.

Panic can be triggered by:

  • You are alone: Family, friends and familiar surroundings are absent – a feeling of complete abandonment arises
  • Your health is threatened: when your basic needs such as shelter, food, and water are not met
  • Other people "infect" you with their panic: through injured, screaming or dying people
  • Location and time are uncertain: a great deal of uncertainty arises
  • Your personal freedom is greatly restricted – for example, when you live in close quarters with primitive means with other people

Most people react differently to dangerous events.

Some scream. Others fall silent, motionless, or cry.

Anything can happen, ranging from vomiting, memory loss to complete indifference to people and the environment.

This is what makes panic so dangerous: it is difficult to control.

But continue reading to learn how to control panic.

How to control panic in yourself

Have you heard the tip?

Breathe deeply, it will get better?

That didn't even help me before a small math test. My heart was still pounding wildly back then.

And even when I was lost in the woods two years ago, the opposite happened.

If you've ever gotten lost in the past, you know how panic and fear can feel
If you've ever gotten lost in the past, you know how panic and fear can feel

All sorts of questions came up.

How could this happen?
Where is the path I was just walking on?
Where did I come from?

My breathing became faster. I started to sweat.

All of a sudden, all I could hear was the sound of the forest.

Panic was spreading.

I was afraid.


When I saw a forest trail, the fear suddenly stopped.

I would rather not experience that again.

Now I know: You need a strong will to stay calm.

You have to force yourself to stop.

Then take a deep breath.

Thereafter, tell yourself, "I can do this".

And then think.

Before that, don't run anywhere aimlessly.

Build willpower. Not only for the wilderness or emergency situations - it helps you in all areas of life.
Build willpower. Not only for the wilderness or emergency situations - it helps you in all areas of life.

Trust your body. Your mental and physical balance will soon be restored in an emergency.

If it doesn't get better, and you're overwhelmed, stress sets in. It can become forceful until you become exhausted and desperate.

What do you do when you're exhausted and desperate?

  • Work on yourself - stay strong and repeat to yourself: "I can do this", "I will persevere" (more on self-influence below)
  • Stay calm, take a few deep breaths
  • Structure the situation
  • Distract yourself with activities
  • Save energy and engage in meaningful activities

Another option is self-influence. I will go into more detail about this now.

How to Influence Yourself

Self-influence (also called autosuggestion) is a fantastic way to influence yourself.

You train your subconscious to believe in something.

How does it work?

In short: a thought is repeated until it becomes a fixed part of you.

The longer and more often you influence yourself, the more successful you will be.

Self-Influence: A thought is repeated until it becomes a fixed part of you.
Self-Influence: A thought is repeated until it becomes a fixed part of you.

But why?

The thought becomes embedded in your subconscious thought processes and works automatically in everyday life.

The training is combined with relaxation methods such as meditation or yoga. This works particularly well.

I can recommend Peter Beer's video on the topic. This builds primal trust and security. It helps alleviate fear and unease.

Practice in the woods or in a field. Find a quiet spot and start meditating.

What is the result of these meditations?

This exercise yields a relaxing and calming effect that carries over into everyday life. You'll generally feel more at ease.

What's more, it is possible to consciously invoke this practiced state. This makes it possible to regulate oneself better. Stress thus becomes more manageable.

Useful in an extreme situation, isn't it?

Also read:

The 7 Deadly Survival Mistakes – What enemies should you look out for if you find yourself in a survival situation? Learn how to avoid these survival mistakes and survive.

Panic within a group

If you're able to control your situation well, help others.

It's in your interest because mass panic can be contagious.

It's heartbreaking to see someone lying somewhere completely helpless. Or injured, or maybe truly dying.

Often, an extreme situation cannot be solved immediately.

But there is a solution.

Try the following with other people:

  • Show interest in the situation, turn to the person, make eye contact, and talk to them
  • Build trust
  • Encourage your counterpart ("I can really understand how you feel")
  • Relieve the person ("mention similar situations you've experienced")
  • Distract the person with conversations and activities
  • Establish calmness (in case of an accident: move the person away from the accident scene)
  • Generate interest in other things (involve the person in routines)


Tackle the problems when you have a clear head.

It is necessary for your situation to improve.

Your enemies are fear and frustration. Kick them in the butt!

Issues need to be solved. Successes need to be achieved.

This will get rid of your bad feelings.

Have you ever panicked?

Or experienced extreme fear?

What was the trigger?

And do you believe in self-influence?

Write your opinion in the comments.

Take care, Martin
Sources for the guide

Martin Gebhardt

Author of the guide

Martin Gebhardt

Hey, I'm Martin. On my blog, you will learn the basics and numerous details about living in the wild. I think survival, bushcraft and the good life in nature are the keys to happiness. Find me here on Instagram or on YouTube. You can find more about my mission on the About Me page.

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