We all feel stressed and out of control at times. Life throws us a curveball and suddenly we’re feeling, doing, and saying things that we would never normally even consider. But wouldn’t it be better to be able to stay calm, no matter the circumstances? Keeping a cool head under pressure can be one of the most valuable lessons we can learn. But how to stay calm under pressure? Here are 10 simple techniques that work:
How To Stay Calm
1. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is simply the act of concentrating on the present moment. It could be by maintaining your focus on your breath, feeling it flowing in and out of your nostrils. Or concentrating on the clouds as they move in front of your eyes. Simply choose one thing in the present and maintain focus on only that one thing. If your attention shifts, bring it gently back. Regular mindfulness and meditation practice will strengthen your concentration and will allow you to successfully remain calm when the world is going crazy around you. Learn more about the benefits of meditation in this article.
2. Practice Flow
Very similar to mindfulness, the state of flow (or ‘being in the zone’) is simply being completely absorbed in a feeling of energized focus. Many athletes attain this state when they are performing at their best. Artists are often in a flow state whilst painting or sculpting, and many crafters experience it during sewing, knitting, crocheting, and other such tasks. Most hobbies and pursuits including crosswords, gardening, reading, gaming, and even ironing and other household chores can involve the state of flow. Flow can be used in a positive way to focus and occupy the mind, distracting it from stressful thoughts. Practice makes perfect, so aim to find activities and hobbies that you already find engrossing. Use them to cultivate an absorbed and controlled frame of mind that you can dip into whenever life gets too difficult and you need some calm and relaxation.
3. Stay Positive
Difficult circumstances can be seen as a tragedy or as an opportunity to learn and grow. Remaining positive when challenges arise can help keep the mind logical, rather than allowing emotional thoughts to take control. This helps to keep stress hormones at a lower level, thus allowing you to remain calm and keep a steady hand on the tiller as you sail through challenges.
4. Cut Down On Caffeine
This is obvious but often over-looked – caffeine is a stimulant that can increase stress hormones. So keep your consumption of tea, coffee, chocolate, and energy drinks to a minimum. Or even consider cutting them out completely.
5. See The Funny Side
A good sense of humor can go a long way during a crisis. Don’t be insensitive to other people’s feelings but try seeing the funny side where possible. Laughing can help relieve stress and promote feel-good hormones, even in the toughest situations.
6. Identify What Is Really Making You Feel Stressed
This can be quite an interesting exercise as it is often not what you immediately believe. For example, a child who says they are afraid of the dark is often frightened of something more specific, such as an imagined monster under the bed, or not being able to see their parent. Stress can be vague but is usually prompted by a very specific fear. Once pin-pointed, the fear is usually lessened purely through understanding it more fully.
7. Re-frame The Problem
Sometimes simply taking a few steps back from a problem can help. Think of a person you admire and imagine seeing the problem from their point of view. Or imagine how you will feel about this particular problem in a year’s time. Will it seem so terrible? Reframing can give you perspective and a cooler head.
8. Formulate A Step-By-Step Plan
Imagine your ultimate goal in solving a particular problem and then work out the steps involved in reaching that conclusion. This can help intellectualize the situation, calming unhelpful emotional responses and focusing the mind on problem-solving. Want to know how to stay calm under pressure? Clearly identify the issue or task that is causing you stress and formulate a step-by-step plan to accomplish that goal.
9. Get Some Sleep
Although sleeping can be the furthest thing from your mind during a crisis, it is often the most useful thing to do. Once your mind and body are rested, you are able to look calmly at any challenge. Your mind will be clearer, your emotions less raw and you will be able to make better decisions than when you are in a state of exhaustion. If you have difficulty sleeping, lie down, do a breathing exercise for stress, and get some rest. Even better, read my article on how to fall asleep fast that explains 12 simple ways to fall asleep quickly.
10. Ask For Help
A lot of people are too proud to ask for help but in many situations, that’s exactly what you should be doing. We are all blessed with certain skills and knowledge, and sometimes someone else’s skill set is better suited to your particular problem. Consulting a friend, colleague, or family member can also make you feel less alone. Just the action of talking out a problem with a helpful person can calm your stress and put everything into perspective and help you stay calm under pressure. And remember that most people actually like to be asked. They feel valued and needed and will be pleased that you have a relationship or friendship that is close enough to allow that call for help. Don’t hesitate – it could be the best thing for you both.
So now you know how to stay calm under pressure! These tips will help you not just survive life but positively thrive in the middle of everything it throws at you. Don’t be afraid, get out there and have fun!
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