How to Stay Calm Under Pressure?

Our daily lifestyle brings a lot of challenges. These challenges can often put us under a lot of stress. One’s true ability gets tested when they are under pressure, even the best athletes, speakers, and performers with expertise and years of experience can make a mistake when they are under pressure.

Why do we feel pressured?

The feeling of pressure comes from the burden of failure. The thought of what might happen if we fail haunts us to such an extent that we lose focus and fail to perform the task.

Performance anxiety

When we are under pressure to perform a task our mind gets preoccupied with doubts, worries, and anxiety instead of performing the task.

Choking

Choking under pressure happens when the feeling of stress, anxiety, and worry works together and makes a person (especially a sportsperson) fail to perform their field of expertise when it matters the most.

Loss of memory

Under pressure, relevant and irrelevant thoughts compete for the same attention, so something has to give. Tasks that challenge our working memory like phone numbers, grocery list, following steps, etc often slips off our minds as they are in our memory temporarily, therefore they are vulnerable to stress.

Over analysing task

When you get aware of the mechanics used to execute an action you often over analyse it, thus making the task which you can perfectly do unconsciously, nerve-wracking to perform consciously as you have to make every move in a calculated manner.

How can you stay calm under pressure?

“Pressure comes from within
And so it must be mastered from within”
-Ed Jacoby

The pressure is nothing but a phenomenon our mind creates, it is your mind lying to you about a possibility that isn’t the reality, but tricking your mind into thinking that won’t be enough.

What can one do?

Regularly practicing under pressure will help you to perform better than practicing in a relaxing environment.

Getting proper sleep and eating healthy.

Having a pre-performance routine like breathing exercises or listening to music will help you to stay cool and perform with consistency and accuracy.

Think about what’s the worst that could happen right now and think if it will affect you after a year. Chances are there won’t be a long term impact. There is no reason to be worried about it because after a year it won’t even matter.

Focusing on achieving the goal rather than overanalyzing the mechanics to achieve the goal will help you stay calm.

Think positively, if you win then celebrate and if you lose then take it as an opportunity to grow.

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