Stay calm, don’t anticipate problems

Jules Verne (died this day 1905) knew that it doesn’t help to anticipate problems or dangers. It is much better to remain in the moment, stay calm, and only deal with the problem if it actually arises.

Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas by Jules VerneMeanwhile, Ned Land gave free vent to his indignation.

‘Confound it!’ cried he, ‘here are people who come up to the Scotch for hospitality. They only just miss being cannibals. I should not be surprised at it, but I declare that they shall not eat me without my protesting.’

‘Calm yourself, friend Ned, calm yourself,’ replied Conseil, quietly. ‘Do not cry out before you are hurt. We are not quite done for yet.’

‘Not quite,’ sharply replied the Canadian, ‘but pretty near, at all events. Things look black. Happily, my bowie-knife I have still, and I can always see well enough to use it. The first of these pirates who lays a hand on me – ‘

‘Do not excite yourself, Ned,’ I said to the harpooner, ‘and do not compromise us by useless violence. Who knows that they will not listen to us? Let us rather try to find out where we are.’

Jules Verne. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas.

‘If you find yourself anticipating distress, calculating your escape … your anxious thoughts will intensify. When this happens, try to stay in the now, and your panicky thoughts will settle down. Do what you can to return your focus to your immediate surroundings and your breath. You may notice people having a conversation nearby, or the texture of the carpet, or the colors in a poster.’

Bob Stahl and Wendy Millstine. Calming the Rush of Panic: A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Guide to Freeing Yourself from Panic Attacks and Living a Vital.

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