If we put too much pressure on ourselves, all sorts of bad things happen in our body. They may not show up immediately but they’re happening nonetheless.
Staying calm when we’re under pressure isn’t the easiest thing to do. Adrenaline pumps round our body, quite likely our “fight or flight” response kicks in (useful when the enemy had sharp claws, less useful when someone’s just talked to you in the wrong tone of voice) and we’re generally nowhere near as calm as we should be.
Why should you stay calm when you’re under pressure?
Put simply, too much pressure cause stress.
That can manifest itself in a number of different ways, including:
- Headaches – these are often a symptom of a larger underlying problem. Sure, you can take a paracetemol to relieve them short term but if you keep getting them, that’s a sign that something more is going wrong and reducing your stress levels by staying calmer is a good start.
- Blood pressure – our blood pressure is a good monitor of our overall health. Putting yourself under too much pressure can adversely affect your blood pressure which, in turn, strains your heart and blood vessels and can lead to heart attacks and strokes. You need to monitor your blood pressure regularly as by the time it manifests, that’s bad news.
- Digestive problems – these are many and varied but can include acid reflux (often called heartburn), nausea, diarrhea, constipation amongst other problems. Too much stress can also mean that you don’t get the full nutrient value from the food you eat.
- Sexual problems – anything from a reduced sex drive, impotence, period problems can all be a sign that you’re too stressed out and need to calm yourself down more often.
What can you do to calm yourself down?
- Deep breathing – probably the quickest and easiest thing you can do to chill out a bit. The mere act of taking a nice, long, deep breath, holding it for a second or two if you’re able to do that and then slowly breathing out. Even if you don’t feel under pressure this moment, try it and see how you relax more.
- Avoid negatives if possible – this is less easy but at least as important. Our bodies pick up on all sorts of signals and negative ones have a habit of coming to the front of the queue. When they do, they adversely affect us as we pick up and reflect the negative vibes. Whilst you can’t avoid all negatives, do your best to stop or reduce the ones you can such as checking the news constantly. Don’t be afraid to unfriend or unfollow negative people on social media either.
- Be more grateful – the opposite of the negative side of things. Your body will pick up on the positive vibrations that gratefulness gives out. And it doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re grateful for something big that’s happened or something small, they all help to uplift your mood and calm you down.
- Prioritize things – there’s a simple way that’s taught in a lot of management schools but that we can all do. Everything we do falls into 2 categories – important or not important. And each item in those categories is either urgent or not urgent. Learn how to quickly decide which section something falls into. If it’s not urgent and not important, don’t stress about it as much.
- Get in the zone more often – something that top athletes do as part of their training but the rest of us can also do if we put our minds to it. This means focusing on what you’re doing, as close as possible to the exclusion of everything else.
- Look after yourself – too often, when we’re stressed, our good habits give way to bad ones. Comfort food, “just one more” drink, exercise doesn’t happen. You know which triggers you turn to and you need to reduce the effect these bad things have on your health,
- Look after your mind – learn to relax more often, maybe meditate (it’s easy with a bit of high tech stuff behind it), play yourself a chill out track or put some subliminal messages into the mix. There’s lots of things you can do to get your mind back on track and relieve the pressure on it.