Something’s going wrong. You’re worried and your mind starts to race. Your old friend Panic is nuzzling up to you and wants to snuggle. Your brain starts asking, “What if X happens? What if Y happens? What if? What if? What if?”
We have all been stressed about what is the best way to keep calm under pressure, you’re not special. Pressure is relentless and the brain does not seem to help at all as it is overreacting and you are getting more nervous by the minute.
It’s how we deal with this stress that determines our successes in work and in life, and the key is to cultivate a mindset of constant calmness.
That’s a much more attainable goal than it may sound at first. Here are four easy tips that you can employ today to calm your mind and create healthy mental habits that will let that calmness grow over time.
Take a deep breath
One of the most effective ways to train this response is to learn how to breathe properly. Shallow breathing means that the diaphragm muscles are not being used.
When we’re not breathing deeply, it stresses our bodies, which then leads to more shallow breathing, and so on.
So if you find yourself taking small, quick breaths from your upper chest, try these steps:
Disconnect from work. Take a break. Relax. Just ignore the emails and switch the phone to airplane mode for a few minutes. Close your eyes.
Concentrate on slowing your breathing. Put your hands just above your belly button, and place your feet firmly on the floor. With your eyes closed, take slow breaths. Imagine your belly is a balloon you are trying to inflate. Breathe in through your nose and exhale through the mouth. It’ll just take a few moments for you to feel calmer.
Block Out Anything Unnecessary
When under pressure, take time to immediately remove yourself from the situation temporarily. It’s during moments like these that you need time and space to think and consider the possibilities moving forward.
Letting go of physical tension goes hand-in-hand with taking a deep breath. As your body viscerally responds to stress, it will tense up. Let that tension go as you exhale and visualise yourself somewhere more peaceful.
Let your mind wander
To calm yourself and remain calm, you need to interrupt that feedback loop. The mini-break should resemble an actual vacation.
The process of removing your focus from the activities that are causing high levels of stress will allow you to gain perspective and the motivation necessary to get back at it with a more relaxed state a mind.
Your mental vacation can be thinking of anything from happy memories to upcoming events you’re looking forward to. It doesn’t have to be momentous; something pleasurable like a delicious meal enjoyed with friends is sufficient. Of course, if you’re an adventurer at heart, you might want to fantasize about finally conquering Everest.
Write down the tasks you need to accomplish
Our lives are busy, and with the Internet, work never stops. We’ve lost the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day; the sense of having done a good day’s work isn’t as readily available to us when urgent emails and text messages can interrupt us at home, at mealtimes or in bed.
The act of writing our thoughts down forces us to give coherence to stressful thoughts, which not only lessens the intensity of these thoughts but can even negate them. The study has shown that pressure-filled situations can deplete a part of our brain’s working memory and make us less effective to remain calm and think clearly.
Remember to add “mini-break” and “breathe” somewhere in the middle of your list.
If you find that you are still struggling to achieve your personal nirvana, why not give McNab’s SuperChill calming drink a try. It is only made with natural ingredients designed to give you an all-day calm, like lemon balm and sceletium extracts.
For more tips on how to overcome anxiety, tiredness and get the right motivation, be sure to check out our 100 Ways to Energy blog.