Remaining calm under pressure isn’t easy. When things get stressful, it’s not always simple to stay calm and relaxed. You can’t always control what’s going on, you can’t always avoid certain situations and there will be times that things go wrong. Getting stressed doesn’t help solve the situation or make things any easier.
There will be times when you are under pressure whether at work, at home or in any difficult situation. I have a tendency to overreact, stress out and at times panic when under pressure. I’ve been working on this a lot recently as I realised that I make things a lot worse by overreacting.
Here are some tips to stay calm under pressure (trust me these things do work!).
Put Things Into Perspective
Take a step back and put the situation into perspective. Is it really that bad? Sometimes you can get overly stressed about the small stuff (running late for a meeting, things not going to plan, a stressful day at work) when really, you’ll get over it, you’ll deal with it and it won’t seem so bad afterwards. Obviously, there are times where you might find yourself in a really chaotic situation that’s super stressful but putting things in perspective definitely helps you to stay calm, especially in difficult situations.
Stay In The Now
There is nothing worse than overthinking the ‘what if’s’. This is so unnecessarily stressful (but a difficult habit to kick!). Thinking about potential things that might happen or might go wrong is such a waste of energy. A lot of anxiety stems from putting your mind in the future instead of focussing on the present. Worrying about what MIGHT happen is not at all helpful in a pressurised or stressful situation. It’s good to be aware of the future and what consequences any actions you take may have, but it’s also important to remain firmly in the present and deal with the situation at hand. Dealing with the present can help you stay calm when under pressure rather than fretting over what might happen or what might go wrong.
Focus on What You Can Control
Focus on the things you can control rather than the things you can’t. Quite often when under pressure you can find yourself focusing on the things that are out of your hands. This doesn’t help at all, it just adds to an already stressful situation. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t and you’ll find yourself feeling a lot more positive.
You cannot control every single situation so there is no point trying to micro control every aspect of your life. Things will happen that disrupt your equilibrium, things will happen that are out of your control. I am somewhat of a control freak and I like to have ‘all my ducks in a row’ before doing anything. I’ve learnt that there is no need to try and control everything, sometimes you just need to be flexible and embrace change. Acknowledge that … will be thrown at you and use it as an opportunity to shine.
Feeling under pressure, regardless of the specific situation can make you feel anxious and stressed. It’s not always the big things that can make you feel pressured, sometimes it’s simply running late for the school run because your toddler had a tantrum on the way out the house or getting stuck in standstill traffic on the way to an important meeting (so stressful!). Before you react to the situation you find yourself in, breath deeply in and out, focus on your breathing and remain calm. Sounds so simple but it really helps.
Break Down Tasks and Prioritise
A huge pile of things to do with not much time to do it can make you feel under a lot of pressure. Whether at work, at home or when running your own business, tasks will often mount up and the ‘to do’ list can become huge. Break down tasks into small manageable chunks, you can plan out your day / week / month beforehand if that helps. (When running your own businesses, I definitely recommend planning your day or even your whole week in advance. I also find this helps in a work environment too, especially when faced with a huge list of tasks) Prioritise what’s important, make a list of ‘none negotiable’ tasks and put those at the top of the list. Breaking down your tasks help to alleviate pressure and helps to make a huge list of stuff to do seem a lot more manageable.
Know Your Limits and Set Boundaries
Taking on more than you can handle is only going to add to the pressure and make you feel overwhelmed. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. I tried to do way too much and I created unnecessary pressure for myself. Know your limits, don’t be afraid to say no and set clear boundaries. When I took a step back, assessed my goals and set clear limits, I found that I was a lot more relaxed and considerably more productive.
Be Driven By Purpose
When things get tough, remember why you do what you do. One of the best ways to remain calm under pressure is to focus on your why. What drives you to succeed, what pushes you towards achieving your goals? Add a sense of meaning to everything you do as there will more than likely be a reason why you are doing it. Focus on the end goal and the end result and you’ll be able to get through anything that is thrown at you.
Stop Striving For Perfection
If you try and strive for perfection all the time, you’ll end up putting unnecessary pressure on yourself to achieve the impossible. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have pride in your work or aim to do things to the best of your ability, you absolutely should, but sometimes perfection simply cannot be attained. Obsessing over details that you think are important (but actually aren’t in the grand scheme of things) will create unnecessary stress and pressure. Trust yourself that you’ll do a great job, trust that you’ll get things done to the best of your ability. You don’t need to aim for perfection in everything you do.
Remove Yourself From The Situation
Sometimes the best thing to do when you feel under pressure is to remove yourself from the situation. Sometimes it’s best to take a moment, change your environment, go for a walk, get a breath of fresh air, whatever makes you feel at ease. This isn’t always easy in a work environment but it’s sometimes the best action to take depending on the situation. It’s far better to remove yourself from a situation (even if it’s just temporarily) than reacting to something out of stress, pressure and fear.
Don’t surround yourself with people who are overly negative and bring you down. It’s much easier to be calm when surrounded by calm people. Try and avoid negative and pessimistic colleagues as work. Surround yourself with people who build you up rather than bring you down. You are in full control of your own emotions and thoughts but you aren’t in control of everyone else’s. You’ll find yourself feeling more ‘high vibe’ if you surround yourself with people on the same level.
Prioritise Self Care
Self care is so important. Sometimes we forget to focus on ourselves and end up not eating well, not doing the things we enjoy or not getting enough sleep. Things always seem so much worse when you haven’t slept well. Feeling anxious can keep you awake at night and the lack of sleep can make you feel even more anxious. Make it a priority to look after yourself. Eat well, exercise (even if it’s just for a short walk) and make time to do the things you enjoy.