The Good Daily

10 simple ways that keep successful people stay calm under pressure

Post Office as the next challenger bank?

It may seem obvious, but staying calm under pressure is a major factor when it comes to our performance at work. Managing stress is vital for success in that it keeps us alert, and is also a major factor when it comes determining psychological wellbeing.

Successful people recognise how to utilise stress to their advantage, and usually share a set of behaviours that allow them to navigate challenging situations and heavy workloads effectively.

Here are ten simple ways that allow successful people to keep calm under pressure:


They Appreciate What They Have
Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the “right” thing to do. It also improves your mood, because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%.

They Avoid Asking “What If?”
“What if?” statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend focusing on taking action that will calm you down and keep your stress under control.

They Stay Positive
Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free. You have to give your wandering brain a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Any positive thought will do to refocus your attention.

They Disconnect
Given the importance of keeping stress intermittent, it’s easy to see how taking regular time off the grid can help keep your stress under control. Forcing yourself offline and even—gulp!—turning off your phone gives your body a break from a constant source of stress.

They Limit Their Caffeine Intake
Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the source of the “fight-or-flight” response, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat.

They Sleep
When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed.

They Squash Negative Self-Talk
The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that—thoughts, not facts.

They Reframe Their Perspective
Stress and worry are fueled by our own skewed perception of events. It’s easy to think that unrealistic deadlines, unforgiving bosses, and out-of-control traffic are the reasons we’re so stressed all the time.

They Breathe
The practice of being in the moment with your breathing will begin to train your brain to focus solely on the task at hand and get the stress monkey off your back.

They Use Their Support System
To be calm and productive, you need to recognize your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it. This means tapping into your support system when a situation is challenging enough for you to feel overwhelmed.
 
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MD of Cary Cooper's business psychology firm, Robertson Cooper - for all things wellbeing, engagement and resilience at work.

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Professor Cary Cooper, Director and Founder of Robertson Cooper Ltd, Distinguished Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Manchester Business School.

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