10 Proven Ways To Help Keep Calm Under Pressure

1. Identify the warning signs

You need to be able to be alert and pay attention to the warning signs that the body sends you when you’re in a stressful situation. It’s important to know how your body reacts in these circumstances so you can learn how to calm down before it happens. If you’re able to stop your body before it gets worked up, you’ll have a better chance at staying calm. Keeping your head calm and in the moment is half the battle.

What to do: Trust yourself and remind yourself that you can do anything you set your mind to. Stay calm and keep yourself from panicking. Whatever the situation, it won’t last forever! With the right mindset, you’ll get through the difficult times and learn to stay calm under pressure.

2. Breathe and count

“1-2-3-4-5…9-10”. Take deep breaths and focus on counting. If you reach 10 and you still feel tense, keep going! If you take a breath to calm down before reacting, you’ll keep yourself from doing or saying something you might regret.

What to do: Learn how to breathe deeply and use it to calm yourself down.[1]Try practicing some deep breathing techniques before you go to bed at night. Give yourself 10 minutes of distracted “breathing time”. This way, when you’re in a situation where you need to breathe and calm down, your body will already know how to do it.

3. Distance yourself

When you find yourself in a stressful or uncomfortable situation, the best thing to do is get away for a little bit. You can also splash some cold water on your face, which will help slow your heart rate and calm you down.

What to do: Get yourself out of the situation that is causing you distress. If you can, go outside and breathe. Try following the previous tip and counting to 10. The fresh air will help you clear your mind and being physically taken out of the situation will help you see more clearly. If you can’t go outside, go to the restroom or get some ice and splash some cold water on your face.

4. Disconnect and think about something else

If you find yourself in a tense situation, try thinking about something relaxing. When was the last time you felt really happy and relaxed? Use that image to try to mentally remove yourself from what’s happening around you.[2]

What to do: Think about the beach, a mountain top, or go on your social network accounts and see what’s going on in the world. Find a way to distract yourself and disconnect from the situation you’re in.

5. Be objective

When you realize that you’re getting fed up with a situation and it’s causing you stress, try to analyze the situation objectively. Imagine the situation as if you were an outsider. How would you see it? What would you tell someone who is living it? If you can look at the situation without emotional ties, you’ll be able to see more clearly.

What to do: Be objective, and if you can’t, talk to someone about what’s happening and see what their opinion on the situation is. An outsider will be able to see the whole picture, not just what’s going on in your head.

6. Watch what you eat

You already know that eating well is important for a healthy life, but it can also affect our nerves. Some people drink coffee or smoke because they think it relaxes them, but it doesn’t![3]Are you trying to quit? Get some stop smoking tips, and get started on your healthy diet. Some people feel relaxed temporarily when they eat sweets, like candies, soda, or pastries, but don’t let yourself do it! Caffeine and sugar give us energy spikes and sugar highs, which can make our minds work over-time.[4][5]

What to do: Try eating some dark chocolate and foods rich in Vitamin C, like strawberries, tomatoes, oranges, etc., because they help reduce cortisol, a type of neurotransmitter that causes us to feel stress. And drink non-caffeinated coffee or tea.

7. Get outside

When you notice yourself starting to get bothered by a situation, it’s important to try and clear your mind. Find somewhere where you can go and think about something positive. If you’re able to go somewhere quiet in nature, even better![6]The colors that you find in nature have been shown to help you relax.

What to do: Find a favorite place in nature to unwind and get out of your head.

8. Get active

There are a ton of benefits of exercise on the brain. Going for a walk or run doesn’t only help you get in shape, but it’s also a great way to disconnect from everything else and focus on yourself for a while.[7]

What to do: Find an activity you love! If you don’t enjoy walking, try swimming or yoga. There are many beginner classes to help you get started.

9. Forgive, forget, and be kind to yourself

You’re probably going to be making mistakes at some point in your life. You might feel uncomfortable and stressed out, and want to do anything to get out of there. When this happens, it’s important to be conscious of your mistakes and be able to relieve yourself of some of the guilt.[8]

What to do: If you think you’ve make a mistake, learn how to forgive yourself and give yourself a second chance. Likewise, do not hold on to resentment when others make mistakes.

10. Congratulate yourself

We all know that staying calm in a tough situation isn’t always easy. It requires patience, practice, and a big effort on your part. So, if you get through one of these unpleasant situations with a steady head, congratulate yourself. Be proud that you were able to calm yourself down and act in an appropriate way!

What to do: Tell yourself “good job!” If it was a particularly difficult situation, reward yourself with something small. If there was something you think you could have done better, acknowledge it and move on!
How to Stay Calm Infographic

Image Source: Pounds to Pocket

About The Author

Marina Vázquez is a psychologist and writer at CogniFit, the leader in cognitive assessments. She is currently studying health psychology and clinical neuropsychology, and is an active member of various humanitarian and emergency aide organizations.