Secrets to Staying Cool Under Pressure
By Sandy Schroeder
How do your rate yourself when it comes to withstanding pressure? Most of us would love to be tougher than we are. What do you do when everything goes sideways at home or at work, with health, family or finances?
A racing heart, skyrocketing blood pressure and clammy hands may be immediate signs, but you really need to know how to face up to the pressure.
Recently I read two different approaches, one from Harvard Health that emphasized calmness, and one from Dr. Travis Bradberry who referenced Harvard Business School research and suggested standing up to the pressure, using the excitement to generate effective reactions.
Meeting the Crisis Head-On
Dr. Bradberry, co-founder of TalentSmart, a service agency that services 75 percent of the Fortune 500 accounts, says, "People who welcome the challenge of a crisis that excites them perform much better than those who try to force a calmness."
Bradberry suggests using pressure to your advantage with these strategies.
Pause to see what happened - When a crisis hits, take the time to put it in perspective and look around for similar situations and solutions.
Be realistic about the impact - Although the crisis may seem earthshaking to you, it may not be seen as large in the eyes of others. Reserve comment until you see what else is being said.
Get the facts - As the dust settles, focus on real answers. Do the research on what is needed and think about the most effective response.
Cut yourself a little slack - As you work through the situation, give yourself a little time each day to regain your balance.
Good news - When you stay cool and handle all of the heat, others will notice. If it's a work situation, your image will go up. If it's a family matter, everyone will be reassured and probably be calmer too.
More Ways to Dial Pressure Back
Harvard Health approaches the stress issue with these tips.
Let your breath ease the tension - Find a quiet spot to sit, close your eyes and breathe deeply in and out to the count of five. Take 5 to 10 minutes to roll back the stress.
Walk away from the anxiety - When stress hits hard, step outside and go for a brisk walk or a short jog. If you can't get outside, run in place or do some jumping jacks.
Change the story - If the stress hit has been generated by an emotional discussion, or known toxic individuals, learn to spot the situation and sidestep it.
Pressure is rampant in today's culture. If either of these approaches work for you, hang onto them and repeat whenever you need them.
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