Under Pressure? Here’s How to Handle It 

Why some people handle pressure better

I have a love—hate relationship with pressure. Taking timed tests in school used to send me into hysterics but I simultaneously loved it. Okay, I loved it if I did a good job. Otherwise, it was a worthless experiment in torture. Still, there were those infuriating children who seemed to be calm and composed no matter what. What did they have that I didn’t?

Threat State v Challenge State

Math tests used to send me into a state of near catatonic shock. I am not speaking hyperbole when I say that my teachers were utterly baffled by just how poorly I could do on a math test. Before the test I always noticed how cold I was. What was that about?

Tips for Handling Pressure Like a Pro

Whether its deadlines at work or personal goals you want to achieve, many of us live under a constant pressure state. You can’t rewrite your genetic code, but you can rewire it—in a manner of speaking.

Develop a simple routine

You know how people in the 90s always used those foam stress balls? Well, they may have been onto something. Squeezing a ball in your non-dominant hand can actually help you not “choke” under pressure. Why is this?

Facilitate your own challenge state

Do you ever do the thing where you read instructions 100 times because it inexplicably makes you feel better? Well, that’s about to be ….explicable.

Train away your worries

Worriers can actually perform well (they can even out perform warriors), with a little extra training. It’s like going to a study group even if you’ve already studied by yourself. You may know the material well enough, but there’s always something extra covered in the study group that you might not have been able to access on your own. A few extra hours of training (whether it be in a class or a skill) can help you feel that confidence you need in your abilities to overcome the worrier side.

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