Staying calm under pressure can be so important, but it's one of the hardest things to do. We're not exactly wired that way. So what does it take?

1) Be prepared

How To Time Management

First of all, it helps to be prepared. Know that sooner or later, there'll be a stressful situation, and you'll want to make sure to have your arsenal of self-calming strategies handy and ready to go.

2) Breathe

Yes, breathe. This is not a joke. When we get stressed, our breath gets very shallow, and the body responds with generating stress hormones. If we take slow deep belly breaths, the vagus nerve gets stimulated, which results in more calming hormones. Ergo: instant calm. Or at least calmer.

3) Time out

If you can, get some time out. Kids are not the only ones that can benefit. Go for a walk outside if you can to clear your head, work off some of the stress hormones in your body and, yes, breathe. Think. Get a bit of perspective before you return to face whatever it is you must face.

If going outside is not an option, excuse yourself to go to be bathroom. Or walk a flight of stairs or two. Anything to get away for a moment.

4) Focus on the positive

Focusing on the positive makes a huge difference and can rapidly transform how you feel. There are two ways to do that. You can focus on the preferred outcome of the situation, maybe in the long run if that's all you can come up with. Think: What WOULD I like to happen?

Or you can focus on any positive aspects of the situation, starting with the most basic (you're alive. You can walk, talk, see, etc.) and moving to the more sophisticated (find SOMETHING positive about the situation or person who is aggravating you).

5) Do what you can -- one thing at a time

Think about what you CAN do in this situation, and do it, one thing at a time. If it's a test situation, take it one question at a time, doing the easy ones first. If it's an argument that you can't win, bow out, or beg for time out to think, or even, if the end result is inevitable, get it over with and be wrong sooner (I'm sorry you feel that way). The latter is a strategy I learned from the late Roger Mellott. It's the "lose the battle and win the fight" principle. If it's an overwhelming job, start with one thing that will move you in the right direction.

There are many other ways to reduce stress, from aromatherapy to EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). In the meantime, if you use the five in this article, you'll find they'll make a big difference in your stress levels. Take that breath, do what you can, picture your desired outcome, and you'll feel calm -- or at least a lot calmer -- quickly.

How to Stay Calm Under Pressure - Stress Tips For Surviving Tough Times

Want more ways to calm yourself under pressure? Just click on the link for Elisabeth Kuhn's FREE stress-taming strategies report and reclaim your inner calm.

And if you are ready to make some positive changes, you're invited to claim one of Elisabeth's FREE strategy sessions Just click on the link and follow the instructions.

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