Coping with pressure

Coping with pressure

11 ways to help you cope under pressure.

Growing up, we all knew kids who weren’t in the least bit phased by upcoming play performances, tennis matches or end-of-year exams. While some of us anticipated an event like pending doom, they would shrug it off as just
another normal day in their lives, put noses back into books and continue with their preparations to excel.
Those with BMT (big match temperament) focus, plan and prepare. Try some of their strategies for yourself…

1. Seize the day

Unpressured people see hurdles as challenges and opportunities to prove themselves – they even have fun while
doing it. Their positive outlook allows them to approach the moment with confidence instead of trepidation.

2. Daydream

They take time to imagine themselves in various successful scenarios: scoring a goal, becoming a singing sensation, curing illnesses, becoming a millionaire. It might seem sillybut these imaginings serve to create positive
feelings and emotions, like confidence and enthusiasm, which clearly combat pressure.

3. Believe in second chances

Perfectionists are especially inclined to have a ‘do or die’ approach, but this self-limiting mindset often restricts success. People who cope well believe that no matter how important the exam, meeting, audition or match is, there will be other opportunities to prove themselves. This allows them to relax, instead of intensifying pressure by
hanging success on one event.


4. Compete against yourself

Rather than imagining everyone is better than them, unpressured people realise that always trying to be first
or beating the competition heightens pressure. Theyalso know it’s unrealistic to win all the time, so they focus
on developing their own excellence. While it’s good to be aware of your competitors’ progress, wearing blinkers
and worrying about only yourself helps reduce unnecessary additional stress.

5. Affirm your worth

Unpressured people don’t base their worth on what they do, but on who theyare. Even if they fail at something, they believe they still offer value. As a result they’re not ‘overly attached’ to the outcome of any event, which would also
intensify pressure. They areconstantly mindful of theirpositive attributes, which areseparate from their work. In
other words, their worth is not performance based.

6. Be tenacious

Most of us seem quite surprised when things go wrong, as if we have some sort of unwritten guarantee that all things can be expected to go exactly the way we wantthem to! Where’s the logic inthat? Unpressured people
have the ability to respond well because they’re in the habit of anticipating possible glitches that might occur. So, as well as visualising successes, they conversely take time to think about all ramifications and outcomes – good and bad.


Therefore, they’ve effectively solved these issues before they arise, using mentally rehearsed scenarios to practise the execution of possible solutions, paying particular attention to the anticipated consequences of their response, and how they will continue to respond. By doing so they still feel a degree of control over the situation, which helps them keep a calm head and makes them follow through with the project to the very end.

7. Celebrate mini successes

Recognising even the smallest success fuels motivation, and this progress and being ‘process oriented’ helps you believe that obtaining your goal is possible. Being ‘outcome oriented’ can lead to feeling demotivated and
overwhelmed. Every step is a step in the right direction.

8. Don’t let it get to you

They regulate their mental state by keeping calm, so they don’t panic under pressure – not even when an unexpected glitch occurs. They regularly practise relaxation techniques, including deep breathing, yoga
and meditation, which helps them to keep their heart from racing and tummy from turning in scary situations.

9. Don’t get distracted

Rather than freezing up with anxiety over the outcome of not doing well, calm people stay in the moment
so as not to compromise their memory, attention and judgement. They remember that their mission is to do
their best and they don’t allow themselves time to wonder ‘What if?’

Unpressured people frequently remind their children that they are great kids, and that they are proud of them independent of how well they perform in school or other activities. Their kids feel less pressure, too.

10. Consult your memory bank of successes

They experience less pressure because they know they’ve encountered and excelled in similar circumstances. In the heat of the moment, they’ll often flash back to a specific time they operated like a champ under pressure. The mental image and resulting positive feeling it imbues, peaks their self-confidence, which helps them to relax and stay focused.

11. March to your own beat

They navigate life using their innate values and interests as a compass rather than relying on external assurances
of success. They live up to their own expectations and follow their own incentives, without trying to please others.
Nowadays, this is a big source of pressure for most of us.

Joni van der Merwe

About Joni van der Merwe

Your Family’s Digital editor. Avid retweeter. When I’m not scrolling Instagram you’ll find me in my garden. Keen on DIY and I don’t believe there’s anything that can’t be fixed with some chalk paint.


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