All of us going through tough times every now and then or all the time. Keeping calm under pressure is not only a goal to get control back, it is also necessary to prevent mental and physical manifestations. There are some times when we are placed under pressure and feel a sense of overwhelm. This takes over our mind and our body. This is the body’s natural response of fight or flight. When we are under pressure, it is important to know the fight or flight response has engaged our brain. It makes it believe we are in danger.
What we do not know and what our brain does not tell us is that this can be brought under control. While your mind will tell you otherwise, don’t listen! Read below for the techniques to have on hand during these times. This will be you back pocket items to help you recover faster.
1. Breathe like a Seal
No, not those cute seals! Navy Seals have breathing techniques they use to keep calm when they are under pressure. These techniques are called “Tactical Breathing” and “Box Breathing” that you can use when you are under pressure. For times where you are in a fight or flight situation, using the tactical breathing technique is helpful. On the other hand, the box breathing technique is a daily practice. This technique triggers your nervous system to learn how to be calmer over extended periods of time. Read more about it here.
2. Task Focused Attention
The reason we get overwhelmed and cant keep calm under pressure when it comes to getting something done is because we are focused on the end goal. To reach the end goal, we need a series of steps to be accomplished. Creating a sequenced list of tasks is another way to visualize your situation on paper, and tackle them one at a time and remain calm under pressures like this. In my job as an IT manager, we constantly lose control over our systems. We need multiple steps and teams to get us back in business. Mapping out that sequence would immediately dumb out the chatter in my head about not having anything under control. That gave me the opportunity to focus on each task without thinking (too much) about the others.
3. Worst Case
There are 2 schools of thought on this one. You can either play out the worst-case scenario and realize it isn’t as bad as your brain ALWAYS makes it out to be. Or don’t play it out, because you would feel even more pressure if you thought about the worst. Whichever school of thought you agree with, stick with that. At the end of the day, even if the worst case is really bad, you did your best! All your focus should be on is if, in this moment, with all of the current knowledge you have, did you do your best? And if the answer is yes, make peace with it all if it even if it doesn’t turn out well.
As Maya Angelou once said “’Well, if I’d known better I’d have done better,’ that’s all.” Read the full quote on goodreads.com. And keep that quote close to your heart and use it as a guiding principle in your life. Even in moments of stress, learn to forgive yourself for expecting more when you didn’t know more.
4. Talk It Out
Sometimes things are more unmanageable when they are just in our heads. It is always, always, always, worth telling someone else about your troubles. To make sure this is the right person, you need to have a trusting relationship with them. Even if they won’t completely understand the current situation you are in, you are more than likely to get some fresh ideas anyways. Also, this distracts you from the swirl of thoughts, and confirms that things aren’t as bad as your head may be making them out to be. Not to down play your stressors, but everyone has gone through various kinds of stress. Those stressors have probably got them into a mental state of fear for caving under all the pressure. It would be in your best interest to let it out.
As with breath work, and meditation, the goal is to let go of what you are holding onto. In the same way, you mind is holding onto thoughts and they keep piling up. Vocalizing them to someone will free your mind enough to focus on what is necessary in the moment.
Related: Learn how to meditate
5. Super-Woman or Super-Man
Oh come on, just because you’re an adult, don’t balk at this one. This physical posture of confidence is reiterated by many life-coaches, gurus, and motivational speakers. This is also a very physical way of letting your mind know who’s boss. Stand in front of a mirror, feet shoulder width apart, hands on your waist, chin lifted a few degrees up. Look into your eyes and tell yourself (basically your overwhelmed mind) that you have got this! That you have all the information you need for this situation and you know what to do. And that anything you don’t know will come to you at the right time. Always make sure that in any situation, whatever you choose to do, is not meant for harm of yourself or anyone else. Repeat this to yourself until your nerves calm down, and then get to task.
Meditation is a great way to build up your reservoir of keeping calm under pressure. While it is a practice that takes time and patience, it is worth the effort since you reap the benefits of it every day you practice for even five minutes. Learn how to meditate here.
Do not be hard on yourself. Most os us cannot or were not able to keep calm under the pressure of life. Everyone goes through stressful situations. What we learn as we grow is that we CAN have control over our minds and our bodies. Knowing that we have the option to do this and believing it can happen, are the first steps to making it a reality and taking back the reins of your life.
Wishing you well, poppet!
Featured photo courtesy of unsplash.com