We all search for that feeling of ‘calm’ when we’re under pressure, though a calm state of mind, body and spirit feels difficult to sustain. When stress builds up between you and family members, colleagues or team members, when work piles up and you need more hours in the day, finding that lasting feeling of calm is essential.
When you’re calm you think clearly and can relax. You’re able to make decisions with ease and treat others with more respect. You’re more gentle and forgiving with yourself and others. You can be the leader you are meant to be.
If you don’t shake yourself out of a stressed out state you’re going to be taken over by your emotions, your perception of reality in the moment and your thoughts. I’ve been there. I’ve allowed myself (unconsciously) to get so worked up due to words said, an overload of work or some stressful situation that I felt as if I might crack. I’m so thankful that I’ve learned how to manage myself when I feel under pressure. I’m so thankful for the lasting calm that I feel on a daily basis. Here are some of the strategies that work best for me.
Keep it Simple and Prioritize
When I have too much on my plate I feel pressured big time! It’s so natural (for some reason) to expect too much of ourselves, to scatter our focus and effort. Keep your priorities clear. Be reasonable with what you’re expecting of yourself. If you expect too much of yourself you’ll continue to feel disappointed with yourself and frustrated. Not everything on your to-do list is ‘do or die.’ Choose only your top 1-3 priorities per day and per week, then go get ’em!!
Choose Your Mindset Wisely
Your mindset will make you want to give up whenever you feel pressured or it will help you develop determination and confidence. In the book Mindset, author Carol Dweck says we can have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. She recommends developing a growth mindset! This mindset believes that you can’t fail unless you stop growing. When you encounter a challenge and you try to overcome, but don’t succeed the first time, you haven’t failed. You now have an opportunity to learn, grow and develop the skills necessary. You’re never a failure, you’re an expert in the making. This type of thinking will help you stay calm even when you feel like throwing in the towel.
Let Go Of Control And Trust
This is my favourite! I have practiced this strategy more times than I can count. This is a choice. You have free will. You can choose to hang on for dear life to how you feel life should pan out. If you’re not willling to give up control and trust that Someone Greater knows a bit more than you (and I) about what the best plan is, you will feel anything but calm. Hear me out here. I believe we can all experience a deeper sense of peace (calm) at any given time. I also agree that it takes massive courage and trust to surrender to God. The G word. Whenever I surrender my desires of what I feel should happen, how someone should treat me, I’m met with an acceptance and even a sense of confident expectation of the goodness to come.
Focus on Reality Not Worst Case Scenarios
Us humans can tend to blow things out of proportion. “I’ll lose my job if I speak my mind.” “My success will go down the drain if I take a day off” “My colleagues will think I’m super lazy and selfish if I stop answering my phone when I get home. They’ll judge me and start treating me differently.” Change your perception and look at your situation through a few different lenses and you’ll find that your emotional state shifts as you do.
Talk About It
Keeping her feelings bottled up makes Jane an angry woman! Ever expected your staff or spouse to read your mind? I wonder who ever came up with the notion that people could read minds! You need to express your feelings and thoughts (when appropriate) so that your needs can be met and you can feel heard and understood. Getting your thoughts out of your head is often all it takes to feel more calm and less like verbally vomitting on someone.
Cultivate Healthy Self Esteem
When stress is high and pressure fills the air, negative thoughts abound! It’s easy to let negative thoughts take root in your mind (and they literally can) and consequently rip apart your self esteem. It’s up to you to cultivate thoughts about yourself that will build you up and establish healthy, confident pathways in your brain. If you’d like to find out more about the science behind neural linguistic programming and the power your thoughts have over your emotional state, check out the book Switch On Your Brain.