So far we've had Attitude and Knowledge as two ways to refine your disaster personality according to author Amanda Ripley. Here's number 3 & 4:
3. Anxiety Level: People with higher anxiety levels may have greater tendency to freeze or totally shut down in an emergency.
That is not always a bad thing, as my chapter on paralysis details. But it's a very common reaction, and it's important to recognize this risk and override it if you need to...if, say, your house is burning down or your ferry is sinking.
As in regular life, if you can learn tricks to control your anxiety, you will probably perform better. For example, some police officers are now trained to do rhythmic breathing whenever their guns are drawn. Take a yoga class and learn breathing and stretching exercises that can lower stress and anxiety levels.
4. Get in Shape: Once again, what helps us in regular life helps us in disasters.
The harsh truth is that out-of-shape people move more slowly, are more vulnerable to secondary injuries like heart attacks and have a harder time physically recovering from any injuries they do sustain. On 9/11, people with low physical ability were three times as likely to be hurt while evacuating the towers.
I can definitely find truth in these tips. Confession time, my anxiety level on basically at DEFCON 1 all the time. Yes, I know it's a problem, but I also know how to work with it and how to mold my anxiety into something that is more practical and that looks suspiciously like preparedness. And regarding getting in shape: what's the first rule of survival in the movie Zombieland? CARDIO! Stay tuned tomorrow for the last installment.