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How to Perform Under Pressure

Do you have trouble thinking clearly under stressful conditions? If high-stakes presentations, fast-approaching deadlines, or work-related emergencies make your mind and body shut down, you are not alone. Many Americans struggle to function at their best under pressure!

Thankfully, these three easy habits have proven to significantly improve a person’s ability to perform under intense circumstances:

Sleep: Think of sleep as a wash-rinse cycle for the brain. The brain sorts out moments and stresses from the day while you sleep, so that you can wake up feeling refreshed. A well-rested brain has an easier time forming memories and problem-solving. Doctors recommend at least six to eight hours of sleep a night in order to get the proper recharge and enable peak performance for the day ahead. If we under-sleep, we can set ourselves up for higher levels of stress and impede our brain’s ability to focus.

Be Aware of Your Body and Surroundings: When we feel stressed, we can inadvertently center our entire being around our negative feelings. It is important to remember that stress is a physical response that you feel as a result of hormone release and an increased heart rate. Start to take deep breaths as soon as you feel pressure start to take hold of you. Break the spell of stress on your body by looking around and observing your surroundings, instead of the stressors inside you. For instance, you can get up from your desk and stretch, take a walk outside, or read a list of positive quotes you’ve prepared ahead of time. These are proven ways to reduce stress so that you can think clearly and perform at your best!

Visualize: Imagine yourself in high-pressure situations ahead of time, so that you feel more comfortable there. By simply having self-confidence and believing you are capable of overcoming anything, you limit the negative thoughts that often cause people to shut down under pressure.

Optimal performance under nearly any circumstances is available to you. Take a deep breath and adapt other skills that will allow you to tap into your potential! Learn more ways to problem solve and shape your future at