What if someone told you that you could control your brain? Well, the good news is you can. All you need is some practice and a little bit of knowledge. Brain science isn’t rocket science (see what we did there?). It’s a skill that can be learned with time, practice, and patience. Ready to learn how to be calm under pressure? Let’s go!
1. Understand “Fight or Flight”
You can thank your elementary school teachers for beating this one into your head. If you need a little recap, “fight or flight” describes how the body reacts in stressful situations. To put it simply, you either decide to flee the scene (flight) or take action (fight). On a fundamental level, this explains why you react a certain way in order to survive. However, “fight or flight” is irrelevant in a lot of scenarios in our modern world. Yet, our brain senses danger when we experience things outside of what is “normal.” If you feel your body tensing up, for example, that’s a byproduct of “fight or flight.” The next time you think you’re experiencing this, ask yourself, “Is this really life or death? Or should I calm down and realize it will be okay?”
2. Call out your Emotions
Detaching from your emotions is prescribed by many meditation experts and leaders who have mastered the art of staying calm. We’re humans, so we’re inevitably going to experience the whole gamut of feelings. That being said, we can choose to observe them rather than attach to them. That means when you feel a surge of anger, call it out. Say, “That’s anger I’m experiencing because of XYZ. I know that this will pass, but I acknowledge that my feelings are valid.” Be sure to validate your feelings rather than dismiss them. Your emotions are real, and it is okay that you’re feeling them!
Sometimes, all you need to do is breathe. Connect to your breath. Count your breaths. Be grateful that you’re breathing. There are many ways to experience the delight of breathing, so take some time to figure out which approach works best for you. The important thing is that you’re doing it. As we mentioned with “fight or flight,” the body reacts to stress and adverse events. We may choke up, forget to breathe, or breathe super heavily. All of those things impact our mind, so try to instill a sense of calm in your body first.