Why We Should Create an Emotional Emergency Plan

Physical emergency plans

Anyone who has worked in any type of building or attended some type of physical school or training facility should be familiar with emergency evacuation planning. These plans, more or less, include some mix of the following:

Identifying conditions that require evacuation

Identification of two or more close exits

Regular practice of evacuation procedure

For the very well prepared, evacuation plans would also, more or less, include the following:

Alternative emergency plans

Training of emergency instruments

Invasive procedures

Emotional emergency plans

As with physical emergency plans, emotional emergency plans will cover the same list:

Identifying conditions that require evacuation

Identification of two or more close exits

Regular practice of evacuation procedure

And for the better prepared, emotional emergency plans should also, include the following:

Alternative emergency plans

Training of emergency instruments

Invasive procedures

Identifying conditions that require evacuation

In physical emergencies, we wouldn’t evacuate a building due to a broken finger or a stubbed toe. The same goes for an emotional crisis, as well. We wouldn’t turn to our evacuation planning when we’re feeling stressed out about some upcoming deadline or if someone gave us a weird look. As with a minor physical incident, we would apply some sort of minimally invasive treatment and move on with our lives.

Conditions that would necessitate a physical evacuation are bit more serious, like a fire, gas leak, or natural disaster. Emotional evacuation plans are reserved for more serious crisis as well, particularly negative self-talk and depression.

Identification of two or more close exits

It’d be great to familiarize yourself with all of the exits of a particular situation but the primary and secondary exits are most imperative. In a physical situation, these exits are different depending on what building you are in, and for the most part, they should be self-evident. In a mental and/or emotional emergency, it is not always so self-evident, but everyone does have a different exit or catharsis and we should all choose the best subjective method for our own needs. Personally, I find running and biking (moto & pedal) to be my most obvious choices.

Regular practice of evacuation procedure

As with monthly physical evacuation drills, we should regularly practice our emotional evacuation drills. I’d strongly recommend a much higher frequency, though. When we practice these escapes, we are able to see how far away we remove ourselves from the threat, be it physical or emotional. These regular practices ingrain our ability to know exactly what to do in an emergency.

For the well prepared: Alternative emergency plans

As with physical emergency plans, not every emergency would necessitate an evacuation. In the pass decade or so, emergency plans have been practiced in the event of a shooter on the premises. The reasoning for this is unfortunate, but having a plan is still necessary. And as with alternative physical emergencies, we should plan for alternative emotional emergencies. I cannot escape every emotional emergency with running or cycling. Sometimes, the emotional emergencies require different tactics than simply escaping. For me, I have found meditation and writing to deal with the more complicated issues.

For the well prepared: Training of emergency equipment

Emergency equipment needs to be used because evacuating a problem or a threat doesn’t extinguish said threat. And as with physical equipment, the regular practice of different instruments would better prepare us to use it when it really counts. Physical emergency equipment can extinguish fires, eliminate shooters, and provide other solutions. The instruments to solve emotional emergencies are different depending on the subject. I find directly applicable and subjectively relevant uplifting talks and motivational speeches to be best suited for the job. Two of my personal favorites, and mind you, we all have different messages that speak to us, I have found most effective are Sean Stephenson’s TED Talk on The Prison of Your Mind and Nick Vujicic’s TED Talk on Overcoming Hopelessness.

For the well prepared: Invasive procedures

Even after all the preparing and practicing, we may find that shit still happens. In these extreme instances, we must resort to extreme measures. In physical emergencies, this may include, but not limited to, the use of an AED, performing CPR, or using the Heimlich maneuver. As these physical invasive procedures require another person to perform the procedure for us, so does an emotional invasive procedure. In my most extreme of emotional threats, it is only the presence of my closest peers that I am able to recover; the people that I naturally hide from nothing from and the people I am free to be myself around.

Moving forward

As with physical emergency plans, it does’t make much sense to start your planning in the middle of an emergency; and it is best suited to contemplate your plan during non-emergency times. And as with physical emergencies, we must take notice when an emotional emergency is no longer in our hands. Asking for help is sign of intelligence and strength, fuck people who believe otherwise.


Originally published at www.hivelessmind.com on April 29, 2017.