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Finding Calm in a Crisis

by | Encouragement, Leadership

Everybody performs differently under pressure and in times of crisis. How you choose to act and react during these times determines the kind of person you are. Some people crack under pressure while others find ways to work through it. But there are a special few who manage to use high tension events to improve the way they work, think, and operate. This group seems to thrive in environments where many others would crumble.

Luckily, you, too, can learn to thrive under tension! It’ll take a lot of focus and practice, and it’ll definitely take some effort. But eventually, you’ll be able to use moments of extreme pressure to your advantage by improving your overall performance.

Positivity Under Pressure

One of the best ways to remain cool, calm, and collected when it feels like your duties are crushing you, is to also remain positive. First, recognize when tension increases and you begin to worry about deadlines, workload, sales performance, or whatever is stressing you out. Once you acknowledge that worry, don’t spiral into negative thoughts and what-ifs. The moment you start thinking negatively and picturing worst-possible outcomes is the moment you lose focus and fall behind. Instead, counteract a negative thought with twice as much positive reassurance. Think about the best-case scenarios and what you can do to achieve them.

Imagine you have multiple projects that have deadlines quickly approaching. A few of them require more work than you anticipated, and now you’re starting to wonder if you can get them done on time. You may have a few negative thoughts like, “I’ll have to rush through each project to get it done, which is going to make my work quality terrible.” The moment you think something like this, try saying the opposite: “I’ll be able to get these projects done on time. I just need to prioritize them and break the difficult ones down into manageable tasks.” It may be helpful to even repeat the reassuring sentence. Practice this positive thought counteraction any time you start to think negatively.

Prepare and Challenge Yourself

A person stands atop a mountain that looks out over the sea. The person is wearing a yellow coat, light blue jeans, and brown boots.

When a crisis presents itself, prepare yourself. Don’t cower in fear and run away from it. Get ready to face the challenge. A great way to operate smoothly during a crisis is to develop good work habits that become second nature. For example, if you tend to forget which regular tasks need to be done next, get in the habit of having those tasks already recorded on a checklist. Order the checklist by task priority and check each box as you complete a step.

Another method of preventing collapse in a crisis is to constantly push your limits. Challenging yourself regularly will make you more familiar with discomfort and uncertainty. Being unaware of how the crisis might end can be terrifying. But it can also be a source of strength and assurance. If you can’t guarantee an end to the crisis, you can guarantee that you’ll use everything within your power to make it through.

Whatever is pressing down on you or making your work difficult can also be pressed against. Fight the force and grow stronger through the process.

Find Perspective

In any situation that causes panic or discomfort, it’s crucial to evaluate every choice.  Avoid rash decisions as much as possible. For a moment, remove your mind from the chaos and allow yourself time to think clearly.

  • Go for a quick walk.
  • Put your focus into another task.
  • Make a phone call to a friend.

Do what you can to get away from that overwhelming feeling. When you’ve calmed down and gained clarity, come back to the issue at hand. You’ll make more rational decisions when you’re relaxed and don’t feel so rushed.

Surrounding yourself with the right people is also helpful in times of crisis. If you have friends, family members, or coworkers who are mellow and analytical, it’s best to be near them and seek their guidance. It’s probably not the best idea to search for advice from people who act spontaneously or emotionally. Connecting with folks who are grounded will prove a better resource for dealing with the pressure and issues at hand. 

Use Portion Control

You know when you have a giant meal, and you eat it all too quickly? You end up feeling sluggish, stuffed, and sometimes a little sick. After those feelings subside, you often think, “Maybe I’ll get the smaller plate next time.” This mindset of tackling the meal in smaller servings is also a great method for crisis management. Don’t try to handle the whole situation at once. Analyze and divide the duties into practical portions.

When you’re able to tackle tasks and not feel swamped, your quality of work also increases. So, whatever you do … don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Crisis Recovery

After a crisis, it’s not uncommon to be set back, even in minor ways. But these minor setbacks can be majorly discouraging. If you find yourself feeling discouraged and unsure of what to do next, read our blog about encouraging yourself after a setback. 

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