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How to stay calm under pressure

I don’t even need to say this but most of us are all facing the most difficult experiences we have probably ever encountered in our lives.

We have a choice here – when things get stressful we can succumb to the urge to criticise, put down, snap, ‘lose it’, belittle, shame and more. 

It is easy to say ‘I just can’t help it but we CAN

We have to dig deep and think about the consequences when we get into this vicious cycle.

Our loved ones disconnect with us, they shut down or get angry back, we close the door to loving communication and we invoke shame, resentment, anger, fear, retaliation and a knock on effect to others.

I want to urge you that we CAN stop and turn things around when they start to spiral downwards. 

Please take a look at my 10 instantly effective steps.

  1. Notice what is going on for you when the negative feelings start to rise.
  2. Tell yourself I need to STOP and BREATHE
  3. Realise that your child (spouse or other adults) aren’t  intentionally irritating you – they may be dong something completely innocent that you FIND irritating or they may be doing something to get your ATTENTION. Either way:
  4. DO NOT REACT. Imagine your life is depending on you keeping your cool. Think about how much you love the other person deep down (even if you feel like you could kill them at this precise moment).
  5. In your head think ‘what is the best response here?
  6. Plan in your head the words you should use to get the best response.
  7. Having taken a number of breaths and in a calm tone of voice say what you need to say. Examples are below.
  8. Even if you get an angry response back, don’t rise to it. See yourself floating calmly in the air and not reacting.
  9. Communicate your love in some other way – maybe a smile, a light touch, a funny facial gesture.
  10. Give yourself permission to not get it perfect but you can always do an ‘action replay’ – this means to stop and do it over again.  “Whoops, that’s not what I meant to say, what I meant was….”

Here are some ways of responding:

  • “I know you are feeling stressed too, it’s just it doesn’t help when you whine at me like that.”
  • “I’m really trying to do my best here and sometimes I get cross when I don’t want to. How about we help each other stay calm.”
  • “When you shove me like that/demand something by shouting/snatch/whine.. I find it very difficult to talk to you.”
  • “Gosh it is noisy here with you all shouting. How about I hear from you one at a time? How about you use voices like mice?”
  • “If you snap at me it means I feel sad and want to snap back but I’m really trying hard not to.”
  • “I just snapped at you.  It isn’t your fault. I’m worried about other things and I took it out on you. I’m going to say it again in a better way.”
  • The most important thing to remember is that there are some things we can’t do anything about but we can show how much we love each other. “Shall we play ‘guess how much I love you?’”