The Art of Staying Calm Under Pressure

Whether you’re a college student prepping for finals or an attorney prepping for trial, stress is inevitable. But, rather than losing your #@!%, yelling, or having a nervous breakdown, try this:

Eliminate the desire to panic. Take a deep breath and remind yourself not to panic because it is not the end of the world. Whatever it is that seems like an emergency is better handled if you remain calm. So, take a breath so that you can continue to think clearly. When you panic, or simply react without thinking, you make decisions that you wouldn’t have otherwise made; you abandon training, you abandon logic, and you abandon the calmness required to assess a situation. So, take a breath, give yourself a little pep talk, and whatever you do, don’t panic.

Remain Objective. Remember that when you’re faced with a situation that seems insurmountable, you need to remove all personal emotion and subjectivity and look at everything objectively. It is easy to allow our subjective self to take over and read things into a situation that aren’t there. For example, your boss comes by first thing in the morning and is yelling because she can’t find a client’s folder that she needs for a meeting that started 2 minutes ago. Instead of assuming she is yelling at you because she thinks you’re a horrible person, remain objective. Your boss is not yelling because she hates you, she is yelling because she is frustrated that she cannot find what she needs. So, remain calm and simply help her find the folder. If we objectively hear what someone is saying, we can resolve the problem without being offended or distracted from the ultimate goal.

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