“Pressure… pushing down on me…” We all relate to Queen and David Bowie’s lyrics at some point in our lives. With all of life’s responsibilities, things can start to feel, well, heavy.
But there are ways to alleviate that pressure. And the benefits of finding inner calmness are infinite.
I have 8 reasons why you should practice staying calm under pressure.
See Related: The Boss’ Guide to Improving Employees’ Work-Life Balance
First, What Kind of Pressure Are We Talking About?
These days, pressure can come from every direction. Parents, children, siblings, extended family members. Teachers, classmates, friends. Coaches, directors, bosses, advisors, mentors.
Many of these people don’t mean to add pressure to your life. But the nature of certain stressful situations makes it hard to avoid.
For example, a coach doesn’t want your soccer game to be a stressful situation. But you may feel pressure because you want to impress them and become captain next season.
Or maybe you feel stressed about an upcoming audition. Not because your agent doesn’t believe in you, but because this is a role you’ve wanted to play your whole life. You feel stressed at the prospect of losing out on the opportunity.
Do you care about relationships, goals, and personal standards? You will inevitably feel your stress level rise at some point.
Because with those values come stakes – you feel like you have something to lose.
So, What Do I Do to Stay Calm?
There are as many ways to practice calmness as there are people on Earth. But as a corporate emcee, here are some of the strategies I’ve both witnessed and employed myself.
Here are a few examples of practices that have a calming effect:
- Some handle their feelings by repeating calming mantras;
- Some process their emotions by writing in a journal;
- Others stay positive by doing breathing exercises;
- Some find it helpful to face issues head on and have scary but important conversations with people.
There is no right or wrong way to approach calmness. It will probably take some trial and error to figure out what works for you. Be gentle with yourself.
What works in the moment?
You need tools that you can pull out at a moment’s notice, like:
- When an angry colleague approaches your desk;
- When your friend invites you to a party full of people you’re not comfortable around;
- When you have food poisoning and rent is due and you have an interview in ten minutes?
It is vital to find practical tools that immediately begin helping you feel grounded. Here are 8 reasons why:
#1: Staying Calm Helps You Concentrate
You’ve been working on a proposal for the end-of-year marketing campaign for months. The time has finally come to present your fabulous ideas to the board of directors.
You are exceptionally well-prepared for this presentation. You know the material so well, you could explain the concept backwards.
But when you stand at the front of the boardroom to begin… your mind goes blank.
Like a supervillain swooping in out of nowhere, nerves strike and you lose focus. You know what this means – more stress.
You forget major parts of your proposal. You need to be reminded to change the slide. You stumble through the Q&A portion.
How could this have gone differently? Consider emotional intelligence.
The ability to stay calm in stressful situations helps you stay focused. Developing emotional intelligence allows you to identify that you are under pressure.
Then, you can take logical steps to address it.
For some, this looks like stepping outside for a few minutes to breathe fresh air. Others like to find a quiet place to practice meditation.
For those moments, the next task doesn’t matter. In a few minutes, you can maintain control, stay calm, and address the stressful situation.
#2: Staying Calm Supports a Healthy Nervous System
Your nervous system is basically the command center of your body. It consists of the brain and spine. It tells body parts how to communicate with each other and how to react to outside stimuli.
When you are under pressure, the nervous system can experience dysfunction. This dysfunction can take many forms including memory loss, muscle weakness, and double vision.
What do pressure and anxiety have to do with the nervous system?
Well, when you face stressful situations, the brain sends chemicals and hormones to the nervous system. These are meant to help you deal with a threat. But maintaining a calm mind can prevent this from happening.
Staying calm under pressure tells your body that you’re okay. It doesn’t need to go into survival mode.
Try activities that reduce your stress levels and have a calming effect:
- Design an approachable exercise routine;
- Start a practice of taking deep breaths every morning;
- Write in a journal where you can release your negative thoughts;
- Break up your work day with brisk walks.
This is all about the ability to step back and recognize what is (and is not) threatening.
#3: Staying Calm Increases Your Overall Energy Level
People respond to stressful situations with varying levels of energy. For many, though, immense pressure stifles their energy. But in my time as a master of ceremonies, I have learned one extremely important rule:
If you can stay calm under pressure, you will have a higher and more consistent energy level.
This is beneficial in so many aspects of life:
- If you can relax at work, you will have more energy to dedicate to new projects;
- Releasing pressure at home leaves more energy to have fun with your family;
- Maintaining a calm mind around your goals lets you focus on taking the steps to accomplish them.
Stress can impact the most basic things, like your ability to:
- Move your body;
- Manage your household;
- Express your emotions respectfully;
- Appreciate a special moment with loved ones.
By staying calm in stressful situations, you leave more energy for the positive things.
#4: Staying Calm Sparks Your Creativity
Successful people don’t let pressure stifle their creativity. When we spend exorbitant amounts of time feeling stressed, we don’t make room for personal development.
Look – we all face anxiety-inducing situations. And we all feel tempted to let those situations bring us down. That negativity can overwhelm our minds and truly dampen our spirits.
But when you stay calm, you can harness your emotions into something positive.
That stress can actually transform into inspiration!
- Some people translate their stress into songwriting, poetry, painting, or another art form;
- Others release their stress through exercise and/or sports;
- Still others find that it reduces their blood pressure to simply hang out with friends and watch movies.
All of these options are viable!
The idea is to be intentional. When you face tough circumstances, breathe and ask yourself: where can I redirect this overwhelmed energy to make it into something great?
#5: Staying Calm Slows the Effects of Aging and Decreases Your Risk of Developing Heart Conditions
The art of staying calm can help you feel younger and sharper, longer!
As we touched on in #1, staying calm improves your concentration. This is an excellent benefit because many people find it more challenging to focus as they age.
Finding a practice that helps you stay calm can reduce stress hormones.
You may have heard of some of these hormones: adrenaline, cortisol, and endorphins are widely recognized.
When stress hormones are high, you can face major health risks. High blood pressure and an increased heart rate are just a few examples.
If you can stay calm, you can keep your brain functioning at a higher level for longer.
Bonus: How to Develop Company Values in 6 Simple Steps
#6: Staying Calm Helps You Get Better Sleep
Remember when we used to resent our parents for making us take naps? Now, what I would give for daily nap time!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults do not get enough sleep.
That is a scary statistic! The consequences of sleep deprivation can be quite serious. They range from diabetes to heart attacks.
Let’s talk about why staying calm can help you sleep more soundly.
Stressful situations make staying calm so difficult because you’re on high alert.
Stress wakes up your sympathetic nervous system, speeds your heart rate, and increases your blood pressure. All of this keeps you alert, making it harder to get sleep.
And just to add to the cycle, a lack of sleep causes stress. So, staying calm and getting in control of your stress is vital. That is, if you ever want to get good quality sleep!
When you get good sleep, you’ll experience plenty of health benefits, such as:
- Happier mood
- More energy
- Improved memory
- Stronger immune system
So, stay relaxed and have sweet dreams!
#7: Staying Calm Improves Your Emotional Health and Well-Being
I think we all know that stress impacts our emotions. Life can feel a lot harder to manage when we are under pressure.
Stressors in one facet of your life can impact others, too.
Let’s say that I worry about my toxic boss‘ behavior at my annual review.
I fear they will chastise me, demean me, or even fire me. While I worry about this, chances are I won’t focus on the positive parts of my life.
Staying calm tells you: I can handle this. With that confidence and peace comes emotional health. You will find yourself focusing on the future with a hopeful perspective.
#8: Staying Calm Decreases Your Likelihood of Developing an Addiction
Staying calm helps your mind and body work together. When you are in harmony like that, the desire for mood stabilizers can be curbed.
You are better equipped to manage stress without resorting to self-destructive behaviors. Therefore, when you do feel anxiety, you won’t reach for an addictive substance.
If you continue to use calming practices, the likelihood that you will develop an addiction reduces even further. You train your body to respond to challenging circumstances with patience and kindness.
Calmness can also help you stay strong against the temptation of activities that may cause you harm. With a calm mind, you have the clarity to consider the reality of the situation.
Let’s Review What We’ve Learned!
Staying calm under pressure can be challenging, but it’s worth the practice. Whether you’re an event emcee, an up-and-coming corporate leader, or otherwise, grab a journal and brainstorm ideas that you can put into practice.
Here are 8 reasons why you should focus on staying calm:
#1: Staying calm helps you concentrate
#2: Staying calm supports a healthy nervous system
#3: Staying calm increases your overall energy levels
#4: Staying calm sparks your creativity
#5: Staying calm slows the effects of aging and decreases your risk of developing heart conditions
#6: Staying calm helps you get better sleep
#7: Staying calm improves your emotional health
#8: Staying calm decreases your likelihood of developing an addiction
It may take some time for you to find stress reducing tactics that work for you. Have patience and continue to invest time in yourself.
As you just read, you will reap invaluable benefits!
Keep Reading: How To Create A Meeting Agenda That Will Set You Up For Success
Adam Christing has been called “The Tom Brady of emcees.” He has hosted more than 1,000 company meetings, special events, gala celebrations, and more. He is the author of several books and founder of CleanComedians.com. For more event tips, follow Adam Christing on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.