You never know when a disaster may strike unexpectantly. Unfortunately, a person can become paralyzed by fear and anxiety to the point that they are unable to function or think clearly when something does happen.

As a result, here are some suggestions on how to stay calm and focused when a disaster occurs.

1. Take deep breaths: The key is not to panic when something does happen. Taking deep breaths will help you to reduce your anxiety and will help you to think more clearly when something does happen.

2. Think of something positive: After taking some deep breaths, the next step is to think of something positive. A person could say a prayer or think of their favorite vacation spot which will help to counter any negative thoughts.

3. Evaluate your surroundings: Once you calm down, be aware of what is going on around you. Try to find things near you that can help you get to safety. In addition, use common sense and good judgment in your decisions. For example, don’t stand by a window during a tornado, or, stay low to the ground when your building or home is on fire because smoke always rises.

4. Develop a plan to get to safety: After evaluating your situation, try to come up with a strategy to get yourself to safety. In addition, follow any safety advice from others if you have access to a radio or a cell phone.

5. Give yourself encouragement: As you make your way to safety, keep telling yourself that you will make it and that you will survive. In addition, continue thinking of something positive to reduce your anxieties. It is important that you do not panic as you make your way to safety.

6. Educate yourself on surviving a disaster: Talking to a mental health counselor is a great way of finding ways to manage your fears when a disaster strikes. If you live in an area that is prone to certain disasters, educate yourself on what you should do if something happens. Being prepared could mean the difference between life and death.

Stanley Popovich is the author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods.” For more information, visit