****** Improve the moment*****
Use your imagination and fantasize about something pleasant or enjoyable. I remember years ago, being nervous about my first interview with a big company. I really wanted the job, and was quite freaked out about it. A friend of mine told me to imagine this big intimidating executive, beneath his clothing, was wearing Mickey Mouse boxer shorts. At the time, I laughed, but in the middle of the interview I realized how tense I was, and that visual popped into my mind. I had to hold back a chuckle, and honestly it helped me calm down. Picturing something or "going somewhere" in your mind can help us experience the thoughts and emotions that go along with that vision. Think for a moment, about a very calming or happy time in your life, perhaps a place that you've always enjoyed. In the box below, describe that. Jot down a description on your cheat sheet, or carry a photograph with you. Then in your mind, go there and re-experience some of the emotions you associate with it.
Meaning - A good friend of mine always says, "There's a purpose behind everything." I believe that's true. In fact, I'd go a bit further, there's a value to every experience. Maybe there's a lesson to be learned, maybe there's some irony or humor in the situation. Whatever the case, and no matter how disastrous things feel to you, look for the positive. Take a moment, and try and find at least one positive that can come from this. Then, focus on that positive aspect.
Relaxing with meditation
I do meditate. I know many people who have found strength, fortitude, conviction and comfort through religion and prayer. If you are one of those people, pray and meditate to gather that strength. If not, use your Mindfulness skills to help calm down and separate from your thoughts and emotions.
Relaxation - Learn and use a relaxation technique. I've tried simple deep breathing, Yoga and meditation... years ago I learned a technique called "Progressive Muscle Relaxation", or "PMR". It's very simple and something I can do anywhere. I plan on making an audio recording of the technique, for download here. I'll also find some other links with information about PMR for the links section.. In the mean time, here's the basic concept. Tense a muscle group, hold it for 10 seconds or so, then completely release it. Then repeat a second time with the same muscle group. Do that for each muscle group, starting with your hands, lower arms, upper arms, feet, lower legs, upper legs, behind, shoulders, back, and finally your face and scalp muscles.
One thing in the moment - This is practicing mindfulness. Put everything you have; every ounce of your body and your mind into one thing at a time. Think about what your body is feeling at the moment. What do you smell, hear, taste, feel, see? Become aware of how your body is reacting and shed your mind of all the other thoughts and feelings that are mixing in.
Vacation - Quite literally, take a vacation, physically take yourself to a comfortable location. If we're talking about a long duration crisis, take a week, a weekend, or a day off. Go check into a motel somewhere, go camping or spend the night at a friend's home. If you don't have the luxury of time, take a mini vacation for a half hour, or even a few minutes. Take a "time-out" and go for a walk.
Encouragement -- Think of a dear friend, or someone you care about a great deal. Suppose they were in this very same situation. What supportive things could you say to them? "I believe in you!" "You've made it through worse situations!" "It'll make you stronger and wiser!" "You can do it!" Decide what you'd say to them, then silently say them to yourself. Repeat it over and over again, and allow yourself to hear what you're saying.
Again, these may sound like simple, even obvious ideas. The first few times I tried some of them, they didn't work as I expected. You may find the same. Take the time to think through how to better do them. Keep practicing and make these part of your arsenal of things to do when the going gets rough, or when you feel the overwhelming drive to reach for those dysfunctional behaviors.