The ability to keep cool under pressure increases your performance and general well-being. Calming your mind and your emotions is key in stress management. Here are 6 tools to calm your mind:
1. Imagine the intimidating person naked
A situation can appear particularly stressful when it involves dealing with a person that you find intimidating. Perhaps it is your boss, a colleague, a customer or even a family member. You feel intimidated because you perceive the person in question as authoritative. You can undermine the influence the person has on your emotional state through picturing him or her in a ridiculing way. You can picture the person sitting on the toilet or talking to you wearing pink, fluffy bunny ears. It doesn’t matter what you imagine, what matters is that the image makes the person seem less intimidating to you.
2. Breathe deeply
One deep breath can bring peace and clarity to an otherwise hectic and confusing situation. Deep breathing is a simple, yet powerful relaxation technique. But there are many breathing techniques out there. If deep breathing is not for you, you can try “Equal Breathing” where you inhale for a count of four and exhale for a count of four, or you can try breathing through one nostril at a time while keeping the other covered. Doing this works as a natural resistance, forcing your body to slow down and relax.
3. Make “keeping calm” a decision
If you feel under pressure, make a conscious decision to remain calm. When finding yourself overwhelmed and unable to decide on the appropriate actions to take, let “keeping calm” be the action. You are more likely to come up with the appropriate actions if you keep calm.
My father used to say to me, ‘Whenever you get into a jam, whenever you get into a crisis or an emergency, become the calmest person in the room and you’ll be able to figure your way out of it.’
4. Will this matter tomorrow, a month or a year from now (or a hundred years from now)?
Asking yourself this question puts your problem in the right perspective. Typically, you get stressed out about something because you fail to see that it is just a drop in the ocean that is your life.
5. Ask for help
There is no shame in asking for help. You might be facing a challenge or problem that you for some reason can’t solve at the moment, perhaps because you are feeling particularly stressed out today, and that is OK. Reach out to your friend, colleague or boss and ask for help, support or advice.
6. Take a break
Most tasks can wait a couple of minutes. So, if none of the above strategies work for you: take a break, step back from the situation and come back with a calm and refreshed mind.