What do I do to maintain/reestablish my equanimity when chaos abounds?
violently rubs face
Dear readers, I'm a classic introvert who suffers greatly from general anxiety and panic attacks. It doesn't take much to destroy my equanimity. I'm a recluse by design.
As a classic introvert, my first step toward sanity is to claim solitude. Introverts gain energy when they're alone and expend energy in groups. As such, I have to retreat from whatever social/familial demands are draining me. I know my limits and enforce my boundaries. I'm blessed with a family that totally gets it without taking offense. Acquaintances, on the other hand, consider me a haughty bitch or a total nutter. Eh, whatevs.
Second step, hug a beastie. One of my coping aids for living with general anxiety is my dog. She's accustomed to random snuggle attacks. Aside from a grunt and "hooman, you're hot" groan, she endures until the episode passes. Puppy kisses are included in the services she provides. Dog hair is absolutely part of my regular attire.
In situations where panic is taking hold and I can't escape nor is my dog with me, then it's all about finding a safe place to park my butt, applying the cold compress I always carry with me to my wrists and nape, and practicing measured/controlled breathing. The cold compress helps assuage some of the physical symptoms, while focusing on my breathing and the sensation of cold derails the thought spiral causing the attacks. It's not 100% effective, but it's something.
While I'm easily thrown due to issues that seemingly should be under my control but totally aren't, I've learned that "powering through" often leads to a "mandatory system reset" that takes more time and effort from which to recover. Save the superhuman behavior for true emergencies. Be good to yourself every day. You deserve it.