How to protect yourself and your loved ones from mass panic?

Table of contents:

How to protect yourself and your loved ones from mass panic?
How to protect yourself and your loved ones from mass panic?

What is mass panic, its features and causes. What is dangerous for a person, society and state? Examples of panic in history. How to protect yourself and your loved ones from mass panic?

Mass panic is an unaccountable fear that grips the crowd when the logical thinking characteristic of a sane person is replaced by a feeling of insecurity and anxiety, turning into intense excitement. People are subject to the herd instinct: they are deprived of reason and are capable of socially dangerous actions. In addition, such a condition has serious consequences for the human body: immunity, the nervous system is undermined, an exacerbation of chronic diseases, the development of a heart attack and stroke is possible.

What is mass panic?

Mass panic as a result of the rally

The word "panic" is Greek and translates as "unaccountable horror." Deadly fear can concern one person, a group of individuals, or be massive. When the mind is instantly forgotten, and momentary feelings prevail, provoked from the outside out of ignorance or deliberately for selfish purposes.

Since ancient times, man has been a collective being. Life in a primitive herd taught him to the massive manifestation of emotions. If there is joy, then it is one for the whole race. Let's say we caught a lot of fish. The tribe will live well for several days. The trouble was also perceived as common. The man died in a fight with a wild beast. The clan-tribe has lost an experienced food provider, women and children will have to starve.

Over the millennia, people have developed a collective response to various life events. At other times, herd feelings acquired a negative connotation and became what scientists later dubbed the psychology of mass panic.

A strong stimulus is needed to create a panic mood. He can be socially situational when there is no information on a topic that is burning for the people, but he wants to know it. And then gossip appears, unverified or deliberately thrown into the crowd.

Rumors often abound in mass panic. For example, people have been living in their village for decades, they are accustomed to a quiet, measured life. And then there was a rumor that they wanted to take away a fair amount of public land in order to build a new residential area on it.

The people are worried, going to a gathering, the local authority says that they want to cheat, you need to go to the village council and demand from the chairman not to allow construction. He goes out to the excited crowd and tries to calm her down. They do not believe him, someone shouts that "he is lying, hit him!"

Having succumbed to the herd feeling, when it is not the head but instincts that work, the crowd beats up the chairman (who before that was in good standing with them), does not stop there and smashes the village council. Sobering up occurs only when the police arrive. For the bosses from the crowd, it ends sadly, they are put on trial.

Panic is formed by the general mental tension in society associated with political events. Let's say the people are expecting a war or other difficult events (natural disasters) that disrupt the usual course of life.

The psychological features of mass panic include the unexpectedness of the incident, when a strong fear appears in an unfamiliar environment. Let's say there was a severe flood or earthquake. The people are extremely frightened and run in one direction, where, as it seems to them, there is salvation. A panicky mood captures everyone, people try to escape, few succeed. Most die in a crush.

Mass panic is a panic that people have undergone when gathered in a crowd, but panic often prevails in society and even entire states. An example is the modern history of the COVID-19 coronavirus, which first hit the Chinese in the city of Wuhan.

It's important to know! Panic as a mass mental phenomenon is based on the will to preserve itself. This is one of the basic human instincts.

The main causes of mass panic

Natural disaster as a cause of mass panic

The factors and mechanisms of mass panic are interrelated and have psychological roots. First, the cause is some overwhelming news or action (shocking stimulus), followed by an immediate reaction. It is the trigger (mechanism) that leads to panic.

There can be several reasons for panic fear:

  1. Socio-psychological and ideological… One of the factors in the emergence of mass panic is a socially significant goal that is incomprehensible to society. People want to be clear about it. And it is blurry and unclear. Weak leaders, who only know how to speak beautifully, managed to captivate the people with their speeches, but they themselves have no idea how to fulfill their tasks. The country starts to shake minds - confusion in thoughts and actions. This leads to tragic consequences when the usual way of life collapses. The state is doomed to revolution. This happened in Russia in 1917. The First World War, setbacks at the front, a collapsed economy, famine led to the overthrow of the tsar and the February bourgeois-democratic revolution. The leader of the Provisional Government "darling" Kerensky could not do anything to restore order in the state. Only "fragrant" words. Life went wild. Panic was spreading across the country. Only the Bolsheviks managed to stop the mass panic in Russia. Vladimir Lenin sagaciously assessed the prevailing psychological moment in the state and, with a small but well-organized group of associates, managed to turn the tide - the Bolsheviks took power into their own hands.
  2. Social… Mass panic in the state is also developing under the influence of factors such as natural and economic disasters. Floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, economic downturn, sharp devaluation of the national currency entail worsening living conditions. This causes popular discontent, a careless or provocative word is enough to flare up panic.
  3. Physiological… The reasons for mass panic (local) may lie in the psychological characteristics of the personality. Constant fatigue, malnutrition and lack of sleep, alcohol or drug abuse can lead to socially dangerous actions. Let's say such a person comes to a meeting. The people responsible for the event organized it poorly - they failed to control it properly. Tension is growing among the audience, a provocative word is enough to turn discontent into unforeseen actions. And here someone under drug intoxication, having lost self-control, shouts: "Fire!" Everyone rushes scattered, there is a crush in the crowd …
  4. General psychological… Factors with psychological roots include intense fear when a person or group of people loses their composure. They run, intuitively succumbing to the instinct of self-preservation. In the fall of 79 A.D. NS. in Italy there was an eruption of the Vesuvius volcano Hot gas, a multi-meter layer of lava and ash covered the cities: Pompeii, Herculaneum, Stabia. People, mad with horror, abandoning their property, fled in panic, trying to escape. Not everyone succeeded, many died, burned alive by the high temperature.

There are only two mechanisms of mass panic, how it is actually implemented. Both are due to the processes of excitation and inhibition occurring in the central nervous system (CNS). They have a protective value for the body and regulate its activity.

In practice, it looks like this. In conditions of mass panic, the process of inhibition is triggered in most people in the cerebral cortex. It inhibits active motor activity. Seeing the impending disaster, a person realizes the entire horror of his situation, but he cannot do anything with himself. Passively meets his death.

Other people, seeing a danger - a meeting with an enemy or a wild animal - do not get lost, but try to fight back. For example, they do not flee from the enemy, but rush to meet him. And it happened that the momentary confusion of the enemy from such a daring act saved life. In the case of predators, seeing the fearlessness of a person, they walked away. This behavior is relevant when meeting stray dogs. If you do not panic and run, there is a high probability that the dog will bypass.

You cannot run away from natural disasters if you get into the epicenter of events. But even in this case, there are daredevils who know how to find a way out of a difficult situation and help people who have already lost faith in their salvation to stay alive.

It's important to know! So that when organizing events where a large number of people gather, mass panic does not happen, you need to be able to organize them correctly.

Massive panic in history

Mass panic during the COVID-19 pandemic

Examples of mass panic have been known since ancient times. Ancient people used it to catch wild animals. The great noise made by the hunters frightened the animals. They were skillfully guided, for example, to a cliff. The meat, skins and bones obtained in this way helped the tribe to live warm and well-fed in the difficult conditions of the primitive environment.

This is the rarest case in the history of mankind when mass panic helped a person. All other examples of the crowd becoming infected with panic are negative. In such cases, people lose control of themselves and act irrationally, causing irreparable harm to themselves and those around them.

A striking example of human behavior during a mass panic is the story that took place in the US state of New Jersey on October 30, 1938. On the radio, the novel War of the Worlds by the English writer H. Wells was retold in a provocative spirit. That aliens have landed in the state, hell is everywhere - houses are burning, people are dying. The simple-minded Americans believed. People gagged in panic trying to get out of the state. Those who did not have their own car were seized by buses. The authorities had to intervene to cool the hot heads.

An example from the history of mass panic is the pilgrimage (hajj) of Muslims to Mecca. When there are many people in a narrow space, they suffocate, panic arises. In 1990, 1,500 believers died in a pedestrian tunnel in a mass stampede. Every year, about 250 people are killed during the hajj, despite all the measures taken by the Saudi Arabian authorities.

Where there are large gatherings of people, there is always a high probability of mass panic. Fired by the game and the alcohol, the fans rage in the stadiums. The panic at the Belgian stadium Heysel (1985) ended in crush and death. Four years later, history repeated itself with English football fans at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.

The threat of infection with the new COVID-19 virus and mass panic gripped many states on all continents in early 2020, the population began to buy food in stores, protective masks.

In countries where the coronavirus pandemic began, mass panic led to quarantine. The authorities took unprecedented steps, took serious measures to restrict the freedoms of citizens. They were forbidden to go out into the street for no apparent reason, for violation - a heavy fine up to criminal punishment.

Many industrial production facilities were shut down, shops, except grocery stores, offices and institutions were closed. How long this will continue is unknown, but for now the whole world is in quarantine.

It's important to know! The danger of mass panic is the loss of reason by people, the desire to get out of a difficult situation at the expense of their neighbors.The law of primitive society comes into force - the strongest survives. People crush each other and beat everyone in their path, hoping to get away from danger.

Threats and danger of mass panic

Nervous system disorder as a result of mass panic

Panic, when it spreads to large sections of the population, is dangerous for everyone. Whether it is an individual, a set of people (society) or a state.

Mass panic is a threat to anyone. Unverified or provocative rumors are arousing. A wave of madness runs through the crowd like an electric current. The crowd of people, screaming, rushes in the direction where the leader directs it. And sweeps away everything on its way. In a stampede, many alarmists and completely strangers who find themselves in the path of the crowd can die. In addition, panic moods pass through the mental health of a person, the state of the nervous system is disrupted, immunity is undermined, chronic diseases are exacerbated, and irreversible consequences such as stroke and heart attack are also possible.

Massive panic can engulf wide sections of the population. This happens when suddenly an unforeseen, for example, natural disaster happened. In case of a strong earthquake, people rush about in fright, not really knowing how to be saved. Houses were destroyed, property was lost, there is nowhere to sleep, there is no food. And only a skilful leadership, when people are provided with urgent medical care, food is organized, tents are deployed for the night, can correct an explosive situation when a desperate people, not seeing any help from the state, begins to smash an unworthy, in their opinion, government.

For the state, mass panic is dangerous because it can damage the economy and even sweep away the state foundations. This is the result of an unsuccessful state socio-economic policy, when people are dissatisfied, for example, with low salaries and a shortage of groceries in stores, there are always provocateurs who kindle with their "righteous" speeches. The crowd gets excited, begins to smash the authorities.

It's important to know! Mass panic often takes an aggressive form. For an individual, this can result in a deterioration in physical and mental health, and for society and the state - a decrease in the birth rate and an economic recession.

How to protect yourself from mass panic?

Mass panic is a faithful companion of society in difficult times, be it a natural disaster, a full-scale war, political confrontation or an unknown disease for which there is no vaccine. One cannot run away from such incidents and cannot hide, therefore, unrest in the society inevitably grows. This attitude is quite adequate, but if the mood goes beyond common sense, as in the case of the pandemic of the new coronavirus, enormous stress falls on everyone.

Mass panic gives rise to fear and irrational behavior, suppresses logical thinking, the individual ceases to act calmly and rationally, the feeling of anxiety and violent excitement grows, which is fraught with consequences for a person - both on the physical and psycho-emotional level. Growing anxiety and anxiety, for example, threaten to undermine the nervous system and immunity, changes may occur in the body, for example, an exacerbation of an existing pathology, stroke, heart attack. And the stronger the panic, the more serious the consequences can be faced. Therefore, it is important to control negative emotions, and if you feel that you are losing control, it is important to know where the way out of the mass panic is.


Visualization to combat mass panic

The first thing you need to take care of if you find yourself in a difficult situation is to stop visualizing the sad future of humanity, make catastrophic forecasts and think out the details, and project negative scenarios onto yourself. Get in the habit of not imagining what didn't happen.

If you feel that you are starting from a half turn, you need to urgently distract yourself. Think of something outside, closing your eyes, imagine a sunny beach. The waves slowly carry away everything bad.

Information hygiene

Information hygiene in mass panic

When society is seized by mass panic, it is difficult not to succumb to this attitude. In such a situation, you should not blindly believe in everything that is said. The key point on the road to information hygiene is the recognition of the obvious fact that during any crisis (political confrontation, full-scale war or pandemic), fake news, emotional whipping and mass panic are not extraordinary.

A useful exercise, especially relevant in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic, is informational detox. Stop watching the news, or if you can't completely get rid of this habit, then at least take a break for a certain period of time to refresh your brain.

It is important to properly organize the flow of incoming information by identifying for yourself those sources that you trust. You can try to be guided by the principle of three sources: the first is independent, the second is official, and the third is foreign.

Physical activity

Running outdoors to combat mass panic

During a panic, a defense mechanism is activated in the body, many different chemicals are produced that do not correspond to the norm. In order to process them faster and utilize the biochemical shift, it is important to engage the motor sphere.

Academician I.P. Pavlov described the laws of physiology, according to which 20 minutes of physical activity neutralize excitement and transfer the state of the central nervous system to the stage of tranquility. This way you can help yourself if you feel that the panic is growing.

They tune walks and jogging in the fresh air in a positive way, any rhythmic repetitive actions, you can do a light self-massage.

Life-affirming activities

Meditation to combat mass panic

It is useful to learn how to separate fantasy from reality. If you feel that you are overwhelmed by panic, take a deep breath in and out first, and then think about the information received in a rational way. What does this information mean specifically for you, how does it affect your life and family? In the circle of your loved ones, it is also useful to hear each other's opinions.

Meditative practices, yoga, and deepening breathing will help relieve stress. Find a hobby or activity that really fascinates you: this way you can switch and keep your attention on something positive. Watch life-affirming films, read books that are positive.

Communication and help to loved ones

Helping loved ones with mass panic

Communicate with calm people who know how to control themselves, ready to listen and come to the rescue. Try to limit contact with depressed, pessimistic, anxious individuals who tend to panic at the slightest provocation.

A panic-stricken person can involve his loved ones and those around him in this state, especially if they are easily provoked. Therefore, it is important to know how to help him if he is already in a state of panic. The first signs of such a condition are that the individual's eyes are wide open, the pupils are dilated.

In such a situation, it is useless to tell a loved one to stop panicking - a person cannot think rationally, he is in an altered state of consciousness. It is necessary to return it to reality, to "here and now". To do this, take the person by the hand and lead him to the window, ask what he sees, ask a few more basic questions - what is his name, how old is he. Ask him to name 5 objects that he sees, 4 sounds that he hears, you can ask about tastes and aromas, that is, about basic things.

When a person returns to himself, it is important to find out about his condition, why he panicked, rationalize fear, tell what can be done in such a situation, that is, restore stability in life.

Note! If you cannot control the situation, it is not shameful to ask for help - to take you home and sit and have tea with you. It is important not to drink too much alcohol.

Practice for the development of rational thinking

Practice for the development of rational thinking in mass panic

If panic overwhelms so much that thoughts get confused, fictions have mixed with reality, the boundaries of the contrived and really existing are erased, it is useful to include rational thinking.

Take a piece of paper and answer the following questions:

  1. Objective block… Describe the situation, what happened. It is important not to judge what is happening, but to write it down dryly.
  2. Personal beliefs… This block includes your thoughts about the situation, write down what you think about this, what are the reasons, what such an event means to you, that it shows whether the same happens to others.
  3. Emotional consequence… A block for describing your emotions and feelings, what you feel about the current situation, and what you felt at the very beginning, when the event happened, how you feel your body, what emotions prevail - fear, anger, panic, sadness … It is important to try to write down the reasons for such emotions …
  4. What didn't happen… Describe what did not happen, but you may have expected or feared it.
  5. Action plan… Describe what you want to do in such a situation, and which of all of this - you can. How you can influence what is happening, how you can take care of yourself and your loved ones.

Such a practice well includes rational thinking, and at the same time removes the signs of panic, anxiety, helps to understand your emotions and take them under control.

Note! To get rid of panic, you can take a warm shower, drink hot tea with honey, eat chocolate, as it stimulates the production of endorphins - the hormone of happiness.

What is mass panic - watch the video:

Mass panic is an extremely dangerous social phenomenon. The people involved in it lose their human face, turn into zombies. Some give up their lives, while others regret that they succumbed to the general panic mood. To prevent this from happening, it is worth thinking ten times, is it necessary to get involved in a dubious pandemonium?

Popular by topic