6 Ways To Stay Calm Under Pressure
6 Ways To Stay Calm Under Pressure
How often do you feel under pressure to act? In those moments, what you really need is calm, but that can be difficult to achieve when your stress levels are so high. It's one thing to feel occasionally frazzled, but to feel panicked constantly is a serious problem. When you start to feel the pressure mounting, you need to have go-to tactics to help you beat the weight bearing down on you. Let's talk about it.
As pressure mounts, it's easy to get caught up in worst-case scenarios. Instead of catastrophizing, deescalate the situation by focusing on the facts. Calm yourself by identifying facts and looking for the evidence in any situation. By making a list of facts and evidence you can calm your nerves and get your brain back into shape.
2. Hit the Brakes
Think of the stress that comes from pressure as a broken car alarm. It doesn't matter how many times you hit the button to silence it, it keeps alarming. The alarm system is broken because it's drowning in stress hormones and can no longer accurately judge or understand the signals it is being sent. The only way to remain calm under pressure is to hit the brakes, downshift, and decelerate. The question is how? This will be different for anyone, but deep breathing, meditation, and calming music are all effective ways to do so. Music, in particular, can help you get a grip on organizing your rational thoughts in a bid to overcome the catastrophizing your brain is trying to do.
3. Impulse Control
As we have evolved, our brain hasn't moved with the times. Once upon a time, the fight or flight syndrome was triggered by serious danger (think: a wild animal trying to eat you). Unfortunately, that hardwiring remains, and when it kicks off it's like a volcanic eruption. It's normal to feel fear and it's normal to start panicking. However, you can use impulse control to help manage this. This is a tool you use daily – think about all the times you bite your tongue instead of telling someone what you really think. You're more than capable. You just need to use self-regulation to calm yourself and stay in the moment.
The greatest challenge we face as humans is coping with responsive emotions when someone or something is pushing our buttons. When someone attempts to get a reaction from us, we generally respond exactly as they intended. It might feel good to let it fly at that moment, but it's not the best way to respond to pressure. This reactionary response we turn to is often the result of ego or a complete inability to manage emotions. If you find yourself in this position, your best bet is to silently remind yourself that you don't react and give yourself time to calm down before you respond.
Do yourself a favor and practice this virtue. The more you practice patience the better you will be at exercising it when under pressure. When you have the strength to step back from a stressful situation and pause your reaction you show patience in the face of pressure. Take this moment to do some deep breathing to calm the tension in your muscles, waylay your emotions, and get control of the situation.
With patience, you can slay the dragon of pressure and stress, giving yourself plenty of time to identify a solution.
When faced with pressure, your attention is often swept away. Your ancient brain kicks into high gear building a fictitious future to derail your progress. By building your attention you can keep this ancient brain at bay because you will be more adept at identifying the many false alarms trying to hijack the narrative. How can you build attention? Choose an activity that focuses on the moment and requires your attention – think learning a new language, playing an instrument, chess, or even dancing.