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  • Writer's pictureLaura

How not to panic buy...

The events of 2020 & 2021 have certainly provided us with a glimpse of how precarious “normality” can be.

There we were, living our life, when suddenly our lives are turned upside down and we are suddenly filled with uncertainty. You may have noticed many responses to this uncertainty – from yourself and from others – however one element has been particularly noticeable… panic buying.

Panic is an emotion that everyone has felt at one time or another. But what motivates people to panic buy?

In his Hierarchy of Needs (1943), Maslow theorized that in order to be satisfied, there are five levels of needs that are required to be fulfilled. These are:

1. Physiological needs:

What we need to function at a basic level, for example food, water, shelter, clothing and oxygen.

2. Safety needs:

Then we shift to what is required to stay safe, our health, a life free of violence or abuse, financial security.

3. Love & Belonging:

The next focus is on our emotional needs, typically met through friends, family and community.

4. Esteem:

After love & belonging are met, self-confidence and esteem can be reached, which is essential to also meet the final stage. This includes the need for appreciation and respect from others, participation hobbies, physical activities, academic achievements and personal growth.

5. Self-actualization:

The stage in which we reach are true potential. This varies from person to person, but involves reaching your full talents and capabilities.

How does this relate to panic buying?

When things happen in life that we cannot control (for instance, the Covid-19 pandemic, or fuel and product shortages due to transportation issues), we frequently attempt to regain this control through particular behaviours. In this case, panic buying.

When feeling under threat, we instinctively focus on protecting our basic levels of physiological and safety needs. Leading to the consumption of products that fall under these categories, such as toilet roll, food, medicines, and fuel.

Dealing with Panic

Feeling panic temporarily during periods of disruption is normal, however understanding what it is and what you can do about it can help immensely.

Panic serves a clear purpose. It gets your adrenaline pumping and allows you to act quickly to save yourself when you're faced with danger. Humans are complex creatures, however, and your mind may create panic in situations where it wouldn't help you.

Here are some strategies that can help you overcome panic and in turn, a risk of panic buying:

1. Breathe deeply

Deep breathing techniques can bring you a certain level of calm during any situation. When you start to feel panicked, you tense up and your breathing becomes quick or heavy.

Take a moment to find your breath and take deep breaths in and out. The deep breathing will relax you and help you focus on taking in oxygen, instead of the stressful situation.

2. Watch your health.

Your mental and physical health are all part of the same system. When you take care of yourself, many of your problems tend to right themselves. If you have a poor diet, lack exercise, or don't sleep well, take action to correct these core problems. Doing this will often address any panic directly or indirectly.

3. Address the problem.

Try to locate the source of your panic. Are you only panicking in certain situations, or do you feel anxious at all times? If you can figure out the source of your panic, you can address the problem by considering any practical solutions to the stressor.

Grounding exercises can enable you to become more comfortable in situations that could set off any panic.

4. Deal with your stress.

Panic is more likely to arise in a stressed mind. If you study certain relaxation methods, you can keep your stress level down and make it less likely for you to experience a panic attack.

There are many relaxation methods for you to choose from that can keep you healthy and happy. Practicing yoga, daily meditation, self-hypnosis, daily exercise, and listening to soothing music are just a few ideas.

One of the best stress relievers is to make time for yourself each and every day.

This time gives you a chance to relax, rejuvenate, and continue your day with renewed positive energy.

5. Getting Help

Panic and anxiety fears are quite common and if you feel that you may have an issue with panic there is no shame in getting help. Recognize the triggers and early signs of overwhelm and end the cycle. As always, please reach out to someone you trust or a professional.

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