When life is humming along at a smooth pace, and every character is behaving as you prefer, it’s easy to keep it together. Composure becomes exceedingly more difficult when you’re under significant pressure or when others are decidedly not interested in playing by your rules. So how do you maintain sanity under stress?
Manage Your Ego
One of the most common sources of anxiety is your mindset. Overanalyzing a situation can lead to undue pressure, which in reality may not be necessary. This often happens when you feel something is at stake, or your reputation is on the line. Internal strain can lead to an outburst when something goes wrong or deviates from the picture-perfect scenario you’ve created in your mind.
Instead, remember: whatever the event, it isn’t about you. Even when you’re a keynote speaker or the chairman of the board, if you can approach a situation with an attitude of helpfulness instead of allowing your ego to believe everyone is criticizing you, pressure will dissipate and allow you to better maintain your composure.
Forgive the Oversight
Not everyone is out to get you. If you bristle at every word and action of another person, you’ll constantly be looking for new friends. Showing others grace is a character builder. Allowing someone to continuously step on you, however, is a weakness and should be dealt with professionally, privately and swiftly. Don’t confuse the two ― one is unintentional, and the other is subversive.
Turn on Your Analytical Brain
When something particularly trying is happening, and you begin to feel your emotions flair, it can be especially hard to keep it together. This is also true when the situation is frightening. The same area of the brain is activated in times of stress and in times of fear. You can avoid an outburst and control your emotions with a simple trick.
When you feel like you’re about to lose emotional control, perform calculations in your head. It can be as simple as counting to ten, or as complex as multiplying three-digit numbers. The premise is that your brain has a hard time working both sides at once, and emotions and analysis occur on opposite sides. By the time you’re finished with your calculation, you should be be able to get a grip on your emotions and determine a plan of action.
If a situation feels like it’s getting out of control, your best chance at staying calm and collected might be to take a break. When you remove yourself, it often allows you to take a breath and view the scene in a clearer light. This helps ease nerves and frequently paves the way to a fruitful resolution of the problem.
While it’s not okay to avoid issues, it is okay to politely excuse yourself for a moment. Simply leave the area and take a few deep breaths until you feel relaxed. Then you can emerge as the dignified person you really are.
Finally, don’t discount the value of meditation and professional counseling. Both are tools that will help greatly in your quest to peace and serenity.