The ability to stay calm under pressure is often found in people with high levels of Emotional Intelligence. In the workplace, the ability to stay calm in the eye of the storm directly correlates with high performance.
TalentSmart research found that 90% of the best performing employees possess the ability to control and manage their emotions under pressure. Consequently, these people do not allow unbridled emotions and/or impulses to drive their decisions or actions.
People with high levels of Emotional Intelligence control their emotions, rather than allowing their emotions to control them.
Following are four simple ways to learn how to control your emotions so you can stay calm under pressure. The ability to manage your emotions will increase your emotional intelligence and overall performance, thereby increasing your success at work.
1. Get off Grid! Never ending work results in never ending stress. Working 24/7 seven days a week damages your body and brain. Everyone needs to give his or her brain and body a break.
You might think it’s cool you are always “on” but research shows your level of productivity diminishes once you hit the 50-hour work week.
Last year CNBC published an article discussing the ineffectiveness of overworking in an article titled: “Memo to work martyrs: Long hours make you less productive.” Check it out here.
Technology often makes it appear to be a herculean task to disconnect from work.
My advice here is to quite simply – turn it off! This includes your computer, your cell phone, your iPad and any automatic electronic notifications that “alert” you to incoming work messages. Unless you are a brain surgeon or involved in national security (and if you are reading this blog my guess is you are not), most incoming messages you are receiving “off “ hours are not that urgent! Really, they are not, so don't flatter yourself!
Finally, totally unplug for a specific timeframe every single day. If that is impossible due to the nature of your work – then unplug at least over the weekends and during vacations and holidays.
YOU must control technology, rather than having technology control you.
Going completely off the grid will do your body and brain a world of good. It will give you a chance to rest, refuel and reenergize – otherwise you will always be running on fumes.
AND – to the point of this blog, going off the grid will directly increase your ability to stay calm under pressure – allowing your decisions to be made thoughtfully - not impulsively.
2. Keep things in perspective. All stressors and pressures are not created equal. S**t happens. It happens to everyone. It happens every day to someone. This begs the question: “How are you going to handle these pressures?”
We can’t control everything that happens to us – no one can. However, we can all control how we respond to our circumstances.
The very best way to handle stress when the s**t hits the fan is to ask yourself the following question: “What is the absolute worst thing that can happen as a result of this circumstance?”
Chances are no one will lose life or limb. Sure, some very unpleasant things might happen. Earnings might plummet, jobs might be lost, but life and death are probably not hanging in the balance.
This realization will go a long way in helping you keep things in perspective. This, in turn, allows us to stay calm and avoid making impulsive decisions or knee-jerk reactions since we know the world is not coming to an end!
People with high levels of Emotional Intelligence keep things in perspective. They keep reactions in check. They don’t overact.
3. Remain Positive. Closely connected to keeping things in perspective is remaining positive. Since we know how keeping things in perspective helps us understand the world is not coming to an end. It allows us to avoid a doom and gloom case scenario attached to the crisis.
This realization will allow you to remain positive when faced with a crisis.
The key to remaining positive is to have a positive mindset. A positive mindset is half the battle in finding the solution to a difficult situation. There is no real value to hand wringing and expressing doom and gloom to a situation that most people already know is challenging and difficult.
Staying positive not only helps you find a solution – it is also contagious.
A “Negative Ned” and “Negative Nancy” can bring everyone down – a “Positive Paul” and “Positive Pam” brings everyone up. They provide hope and belief that you can find a way out of what might appear to be, at the moment, a dark – but not endless tunnel.
The ability to remain positive during a crisis allows you to be the calm in the eye of the storm- a trait exhibited by those with high emotional intelligence.
4. Breathe. Breathe deeply! The best way to remember to breathe when under pressure is to practice breathing on a daily basis. This way, when you are faced with pressure you can more easily remember to breathe appropriately.
This might sound simple but it works.
Deep breathing allows you to get centered and focused during times of stress. It promotes oxygenation to the brain, allowing you to think clearly.
The next time you are stressed, remember to breathe. You might be surprised how much this will increase your ability to process the stress and stay calm.
The ability to stay calm under pressure is a characteristic commonly found in people with high levels of Emotional Intelligence. Utilize the techniques discussed in this blog and watch your emotional intelligence – and success soar.
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