When our body feel the effects of adrenaline like racing heart rate, flushed face, cold sweat and so on, we often unconsciously turn our attention inwards. This is often accompanied by negative thoughts.
Our internal dialogue quickly descends into a vicious inward spiral and we lose our connection with our surroundings.
Going into our heads may be useful in certain situations such as when taking a written examination, reading a book, or playing a chest game. But being lost in thoughts is certainly not an appropriate mental state when facing serious physical emergencies such as fighting a fire, or trying to resuscitate an unconscious victim.
The first step in avoiding losing ourselves in internal dialogue is to be conscious of our drifting into this state.
Techniques involve deliberately choosing to turn our attention outwards i.e. get out of our heads. We deliberately make ourselves more aware of and connect with the things in our surroundings.
To be externally focused is known by various names such as being in the moment, present, in uptime, and being mindful.
Learning to switch to external focus at will is an important skill in dealing successfully with acute stress.