Gunshots ring out in a crowded public area. You are immediately overcome with the chaos as you find the nearest solid object to take cover behind. You begin to realize time seems to have slowed and you can feel that your mouth is incredibly dry. You feel as though your heart will beat itself right out of your chest. But, you are ready. You take deep, deliberate breaths and force yourself to look around, focusing on objects close and far to break the tunnel vision. You remember that there is a walkway about 20-30 feet behind you that will provide better concealment and an escape to a parking lot. You peek into the pandemonium and decide its time to move...
The human body's "alarm response" to a stressful event is sudden and can be overwhelming and incapacitating. As described above though one can learn to counter (to some extent) the debilitating effects and continue to function and survive.
Two of the most important aspects to combating the effects of this alarm response are training oneself to adapt to stress and breathing. Stress inoculation can take many forms but in essence one is subjecting the mind and body to simulated stress, thereby helping the body to adapt to any stress thrown at it. Breathing is simply that; slow, deep, deliberate breaths to give the body more of what it wants...oxygen!
Anyone can utilize stress inoculation; sprint 100 yards then answer three or four simple math problems. Perform twenty push-ups then tie two or three different knots while being timed, etc. The keys are to stress not only the body but the mind as well. As those tasks become easier, up the stress!
Its said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of treatment and that is no more evident than with the body's alarm response. So get it in your mind to train, prepare, and to win at all costs!
Keep your heads up out there and be safe!