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How To Stay Calm Under Pressure - Mindful

https://www.mindful.org/how-to-stay-calm-under-pressure/

mindful.org

How To Stay Calm Under Pressure - Mindful
In high-stakes scenarios, we tend to panic-and mess up things we usually do with ease. Here's why that happens, and how to stop it. A star athlete misses a penalty shot in overtime. A famous singer bungles the national anthem. A great actor forgets their lines on stage.

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Learn to be ok with discomfort

If you know you have a high-stakes event coming up, become familiar with feeling pressure and learn to work through it. 

For example: If you need to give a presentation to coworkers, rather than practicing on your own, try out your speech on a couple of friends. 

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Establish a pre-performance routine

Whether it’s taking a few deep breaths, doing some light stretching, or having a quick phone call with someone you trust, spending your last few minutes doing something active before a big event will prevent you from spiraling into worry, so you can perform confidently.

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Shift your attention away from worries

... and to the task at hand. 

Mindfulness can help you regain a sense of calm and focus your attention, so you can avoid being caught off guard by your anxiety. You can see it for what it is, and choose to direct your attention elsewhere. 

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Visualize the destination

Take a moment to visualize the calm after the storm: the work is done and done well, and you’re celebrating with your team. 

Positive visualization can alleviate pressure and help...

Motivate yourself with a reward

People who know their hard work will be tangibly rewarded tend to perform better than those who don’t

Whether it’s a vacation, something you’ve been wanting to buy, or dinner at your favorite restaurant, pick a reward that will keep you going and pretend it’s already yours.

Focus on your actions

Craft a routine or system for getting the work done. Focus on your daily actions and carry out your plan with discipline and determination.

A routine can help prevent panic and distraction, allowing you to focus on the task at hand.

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Slow down

Try not to react immediately, but be patient and gather as much information as possible.

If the problem will not matter a year from now, distance yourself somewhat from the situation to gain ...

Stay positive

When you are in a stressful situation, do not allow your mind to imagine the worst-case scenario. 

Focus your mind on something positive.

Never ask “what if?”

The "what if" line of questioning induces panic and lets you focus on imagined situations that escalate the problem.

Focus on the facts and work on a solution.

Building and reguilding confidence

Building and reguilding confidence

Rebuilding confidence is not the same as building confidence.

  • When building confidence, you're trying to do something you're not sure you can do.

Confidence is essentially about expectations

You think you'll excel, but considering the probability of success and feeling confident is not that easy.

Framing effects happen when the same thing looks different when the context change. If you're a good student in a mediocre class, you feel smarter than if you're a good student in an elite class.

Relearning confidence

When practicing a skill that you have forgotten, you may lack the confidence to pick it up again.

However, those doubts are exaggerated. Not remembering is normal, and relearning happens faster than you may expect. Yet, you may still lack self-confidence, which will undermine your self-image and motivation.