How to Stay Cool in Moments of Pressure

Pressure and stress are all too common in today’s modern workplaces. The good news is that although stress is an instinctive reaction, there’s always a short moment as the stress response kicks in where we can choose whether to respond constructively or react impulsively.

When in a state of stress, the body takes one of three options. Fight, flight or freeze. This is a natural instinct that happens automatically, yet it’s entirely possible to manage our stress responses so they happen less often and less strongly. These skills are particularly useful in times of pressure and challenges that all of us face at different times in our lives.

The key is to learn how to control and manage your stress responses when they come up.

This, as we all know, is a feat that’s easier said than done. It takes practice. And then some more practice. But it is possible and the outcome is worth the effort.

The better you become at managing stress-related feelings, the calmer and more resilient you will become over time.

And who doesn’t want to feel calm as often as possible?

Action Steps

So how do you stay calm and reduce feelings of stress when you’re under pressure?

Here are four ways that all make a positive difference…

1. Self soothing
Self-soothing isn’t just for newborn babies. It’s for full-grown adults too. Self-soothing can be achieved by any number of ways that suit you and your lifestyle, as long as their end result is to calm your body and your mind. Think yoga, mindfulness, spending time in nature, deep breathing…

Create your own go-to set of soothing techniques to use whenever you are under pressure. They will help to reduce the intensity and duration of your stress.

2. Minding your language
Words matter. They can inflame a situation as quickly as they can diffuse one. So aim to keep your words positive, both to yourself and to others. Positive statements such as “I can handle this”, “We’ll get through this together” or “One step at a time” are simple to do but are powerful contributors to keeping yourself calm and strong in pressure situations.

3. Cutting to essentials only
Clear the clutter so you can see the wood from the trees. Defer as many non-urgent, non-essential tasks as possible. Reducing these distractions will allow you clear air to breathe and get through the challenge at hand.

4. Seeking support
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether from colleagues, friends, family or support services, don’t shy away from calling in some favours or seeking assistance. If the budget allows, hire in help. Try to reduce the load you are carrying by whatever means possible.

Above all, be proactive in managing your stress and maintaining your wellbeing. It’ll make life much more enjoyable. And it’ll ensure that you can be calm and strong when pressure and challenges arise.

What could you do to proactively manage your stress and maintain your wellbeing?

Adele Sinclair is a wellness coach and trainer who focuses on mental wellbeing at work. She has a background in management and experienced job burnout twice as a result of ongoing work stress. If you liked this article, you'll love Adele's coaching programs to help you with strategies for a great worklife.