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Have you ever found yourself in a high-pressure situation, whether it be a job interview or a nerve-wracking presentation, and felt like you might freeze up on the spot?
We’ve all been there! If you're someone who struggles to keep their cool in these kinds of situations, don't worry - you're not alone.
Pressure can be hard to deal with, but learning how to keep your cool in these situations is an important life skill. Here are 5 practical hacks that will help you stay calm and collected in any "pressure cooker" situation.
Take a Deep Breath
Everyone always says this, and yeah, it can be annoying when you're already stressed and anxious, but why do we encourage deep breathing?
When we're feeling anxious, our breathing tends to become shallow and rapid, which only makes the situation worse.
Deep, intentional breathing works to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, calming the body and allowing you to relax.
Taking slow, deep breaths also helps to lower your heart rate and give you a moment of clarity when everything else feels like it's spinning out of control.
If you're a beginner to intentional breathwork like deep breathing, use an app that helps you count your breaths or try a breathing exercise like the box breath, a.k.a. the 4x4 method. Learn how to easily master this technique here.
Hitting pause in an intense moment and controlling your breath for even a few minutes can promote a sense of calm in the moment of experiencing high stress and help your body physically relax.
Find an Anchor Point
An anchor point can be anything from a physical object to a phrase that has a special meaning for you. It could be a rock from your last family beach trip or a small fidget toy.
The idea is to bring your attention back to this anchor whenever things start getting overwhelming or you feel like you're going to lose focus.
If you don't have an object with you to hold, it could be something as simple as touching your thumb and index finger together or repeating a mantra in your head (whatever works best for you!).
This will help ground yourself so that instead of being caught up in the whirl of any high-stress situation.
Visualization work and manifestation aren’t magic; it’s science! Imagining a future situation where the outcome is positive can help the mind to unwind and manifest said outcome.
This is because your brain actually doesn’t know the difference between reality and imagining a situation is happening when it reacts with emotion.
For example, if you think of a highly stressful or embarrassing moment in your life, you start to feel anxious or upset. Luckily, this physical and emotional response can happen in positive situations as well!
Before heading into any situation that makes you feel anxious, take a few moments to visualize yourself succeeding in the task at hand.
Imagine yourself confidently and successfully completing the task. How do you feel when you succeed? If you can bring up feelings of confidence and composure, you can carry it into whatever situation you are facing. This in turn will actually help you to succeed.
SAM-e for Mood
Short for S-adenosylmethionine, SAM-e is a naturally occurring molecule that promotes the production of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
If you're someone who tends to get easily agitated or anxious in high-pressure situations, SAM-e might be worth trying.
L-Theanine for Relaxation
L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea and other natural sources. Studies have shown that it can support lower levels of cortisol production, which is your stress hormone (Fight or flight, anyone?).
Lower levels of cortisol make it easier for your mind and body to unwind and stay calm.
High-pressure situations can be tough to manage and get through with grace, but there are strategies you can use to keep your cool.
Taking a few moments to regulate your breathing, holding an anchor point, and having a mantra to work with can all be helpful strategies. For further daily mood support, you might want to also add supplements to your routine.
With these tactics in your toolkit, you'll be better prepared to navigate pressure situations without losing control — remember to listen to your body and determine what works best for you.