Cooler heads tend to prevail because they are not very cool at all – they are aflame with focus, thought and determination.
Fear is disorienting, and panic can scatterbrain you whether in a few seconds of natural disaster or a drawn-out week of personal strife. We are so much more than our animal instincts, yet that is what we are reduced to when we are put in a stressful situation, when we need our human potential most of all.
Those who rise to the occasion in a crisis make the active choice to not freak out. They keep the suggestion to snap out of it nestled in their heads and then heed it when it occurs to them.
The human mind is a loyal and effective companion once it is reigned in. Instead of feeling fear, it can be occupied with collecting information and using reason to deconstruct the fear. This really helps turn a paralyzing terror into an involving (but important) puzzle. One of your first experiences with this may have been fearing getting sucked down the bathtub drain until you figured out or were shown that things way bigger than it won’t fit.
Next time something goes bump in the night, throw a pillow at it. Curiosity can be an effective substitute for courage.
Breathe deep and gather facts.