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Monday, November 5, 2018

How We Act Under Pressure



Handling Pressure  

sofspics

All of us have been under pressure at sometime or the other in life. It is a common denominator for people of all classes and races. Pressure or stress in itself is not a big deal, it is how we handle pressure that makes the difference.  Pressure has a definite impact on performance, relationships and health. The ability to keep calm under pressure, to respond to a challenge rather than react to it is known as emotional stability.

Our success in life depends heavily on emotional stability. Emotional stability leads to stable relationship which in turn provide the required support during times of stress. The ability to hold out under pressure and perform efficiently also relies heavily on a person’s emotional stability. Pressure tests bring out the best or the worst in us. It is an indicator of what makes us tick.

Emotional stability helps us to think calmly and dispassionately in pressure situations. We are able to consciously consider various rational solutions to our problems and choose the best instead of reacting to them with fear, anxiety and negativity. We learn to endure pressure and come out of it with greater strength and ability to deal with problems.

Some of us act like imbalanced and unreasonable people when we are under pressure, especially in relationships. We say things we ought not to, call people names and react violently to stressful situation. This behavior blows the problem out of proportion and makes it difficult to work through them. When we act in haste and fear we tend to damage all chances of resolving the issue at hand. We often jump to conclusion, rely heavily on our imagination rather than on actual facts and press the panic button. At times we also obsess about things and run around in circles. We tend to antagonize people, even those who bear good will towards us. Emotional instability could make us loners, worriers and poor performers.

Various studies show the correlation between emotional stability and high performance, creativity, greater cognitive ability and well being.

Is it possible to change our basic nature? Is it possible to act with grace under pressure? Why not? Nothing is written in stone. All behavior is learned. We are always changing and evolving as a species. We need to change for the better, which means we take the right decisions. We learn to do things right. It takes practice, a lot of practice. Impossible is nothing.

Self-awareness is the key to keep our untamed nature under check. Culture is all about this, we learn acceptable forms of behavior. Constantly keeping a tab on our emotions and how we react to anything that stressful would be the first step towards change for the better.

Practicing the right behavior, keeping our emotions in check, swallowing our pride and accepting our short comings would be another small step towards progress.

It is only our egos that come in the way of change. Once we keep this huge liability in check we can think clearly and work efficiently even under pressure. Our ego often cripples us with its unrealistic demands to protect itself from being hurt, at the cost of progress.  

Anxiety and fear are common to everyone. Practice and working on skills could keep these under check.

Lastly, cultivate good social habits. This works under pressure and out of it. It helps improve moods and leads to better social adaptation.