Keeping Your Calm
We all face pressure at various points in our lives. It could be school related, work related, family related– or simply life related. The trick to keeping your cool is not learning to avoid pressure, but rather learning how to respond to it. In his article “3 Ways to Stay Calm Under Pressure, According to a Bomb Disposal Expert” Eric Barker interviews a Navy EOD Team Leader to discover how he keeps a level head when navigating one of the most stressful jobs imaginable: diffusing live bombs underwater.
Here are the Team Leader’s three top tricks to keeping calm:
- Avoid the rabbit hole. In other words, do NOT succumb to the circular, downward spiraling thought process that often accompanies high-pressure situations. Initiate a “threat assessment” instead to determine what kind of problem you’re dealing with, so you can then take steps to resolve it.
- Emphasize the positive and focus on what you can control. Barker points out that the most resilient people are those who can also be the most optimistic. There may be a hundred things going wrong in a particular day, but the moment you’re able to think about all the positive things you have going the sooner you’ll be able to focus on that which you can control rather than that which is out of your control. This will enable you to start taking steps toward a solution.
- Decide what to do next. It’s important to be decisive in stressful, high-pressure situations– otherwise your brain is left to the circular, “what if” thinking that leads down the rabbit hole.
When faced with a high-pressure situation, conduct a “threat assessment,” focus on the positive, and make a decision.