Not panicking is definitely something I am still learning and working on. Panic jumps easily from my stomach into my throat. There is no thinking or consideration for what is best or looking for a way out. That's the biggest problem with panic: our brains shut down.
When we panic we have a tendency to freeze. There is a time period between something happening and our reaction. During that time period our mind needs to come to the realization of what is occurring so that we can respond accordingly. Too often we don't move through that time period fast enough. Too often we simply freeze, and our reactions come too late, if they come at all.
My taekwondo class and the various self-defense classes I have attended have helped me tremendously with my panic responses. By repeating techniques which will assist me if someone is attacking me, I set into my body muscle memory so that if my brain shuts down my body will still know what to do.
Recently a friend in another state held a retreat for women to realize their power and strength. At the end of the retreat they had a drill where the participants defended themselves against two men in attack suits. The videos shared have been awesome and amazing, and the words the women are using to explain the experience is powerful. What I love the most is the fact these women will now panic less if they are ever accosted by someone, because they have allowed themselves to be in this position in order to practice what to do to get out.
I once was able to do this drill at a different retreat, and what I remember is the feeling of moving through the panic to deal with the situation. Something which will certainly help me if I ever need to move through the panic again. Not that you need this specific drill in particular, but all drills, all practice, much repetition is what helps us to lower the panic amount and move through it quicker.
Not everyone panics so much in a dangerous situation, I am well aware. We all respond differently, but the goal is to diminish the amount of panic we feel. It is the thing that will hinder us the most in the first few moments of a dangerous situation.