Michel Grinder said, “Recovery is more important than perfection” and one of my own key learnings is “to remain calm when under fire”.
Many people find it hard to stay calm and resilient when put under stress, especially when there is constant pressure, expectations, timelines and competing demands at work. But remaining calm and being resilient is a skill that everyone should learn and perfect as this allows you to better lead, manage the team and achieve success.
Here are some tips on how to stay calm when under pressure both at work and in other relationships.
- Think positive thoughts
Susan Jeffers would call these positive thoughts, affirmations, and she would encourage you to collect 3 or 4 powerful affirmations that you can use in times of stress. You can also start the day by telling yourself how great your day is going to be. You’ll feel happier and more enthusiastic about getting work done, especially if you become your own cheerleader.
- Make it a challenge
According to happiness expert Shawn Achor, one of the best ways to deal with stress is to see problems as challenges. If you think of your problems and pressure at work as challenges, you will look at it through different eyes and be more prepared to see it through to the end and finish it successfully.
- Appreciate the little good things
Celebrating the small wins is a great way to stay motivated. Take a moment to appreciate the small things that happen, every day. It’s important to look for little victories as you go through difficult and stressful times because they reassure you that there is an end in sight. These successes give you hope and strength to deal with larger problems. And they say that it is the journey that matters, not the destination. Appreciate the journey.
- Laugh and have fun
Find a way to laugh because it is contagious, and it makes all the difference when you’re under pressure. It helps you remember that there’s more to life than the job or situation at hand.
Laugh when it’s especially stressful. It’s easier to face problems when you can bring humour into them. It can help boost confidence and give you the strength you need to tackle challenges head-on.
And don’t forget laughter boosts your endorphins and serotine, those happy biochemicals.
- Don’t think too much about the process
When you’re working on a project, it’s always good to keep moving forward. You might find that there are things you do perfectly and smoothly even when you’re not looking. But if you try to think too deeply about how you do them, you may get in your own way and be paralysed by over-analysis.
The best tip for not making mistakes is to relax and breathe. When you are calm, you tend to do your best work. You will do well when you act naturally and don’t second guess yourself. When you try to think about how you do something or observe yourself doing it, that’s when problems and mistakes arise.
- Acknowledge and embrace the pressure
Being uncomfortable before an important event is a normal feeling, but you can manage that by embracing it and being with it. Rather than trying to force yourself not to feel nervous, understand what makes you feel this way.
Take a deep breath, shake off the anxiety, and remind yourself that you have faced these feelings before. This will help you relax and enter the situation with a positive attitude. I mentioned that one of my own key learnings was learning to “remain calm while under fire”.
- Calm yourself.
A few minutes before you face a stressful situation, calm yourself by engaging in an activity that takes your mind off what’s coming up. Get your body active for several minutes. Do breathing exercises and other activities that distract you from anxiety-inducing thoughts. You could practice mindfulness or meditation to help you focus your attention on the present moment.
Stress and pressure are normal facts of life. Everybody feels stressed at one time or another. The only thing that matters is how you cope with stress at work and in your life. By being aware of the things that cause you to feel pressure and taking steps to manage it, you can maintain a positive outlook and keep your performance at work and your team in top form.
All in all, there are plenty of things you can do to stay calm and reduce the sense of pressure. Once you start putting these tips into practice, you will be able to develop your resilience more easily.