5 tips for performing well under pressure

pressure

It goes without saying that in today’s working world we are all under pressure. This is a non-varying characteristic of modern corporations. Forward-thinking companies do care for their employees’ well-being, but it’s also important for employees to know how to handle pressure in order to not sacrifice mental health or work performance. Here are 5 great tips for performing well under pressure.

1) Remember that human beings can perform well under pressure.

We are survivalists, we love a challenge and we like to accomplish difficult tasks that keep us going. If you find yourself working in a pressurised environment it’s highly likley that you are one of the people that succeed rather than fail under pressure.

So, don’t view pressure as a negative, but rather embrace it and see it as an opportunity. You should always pay attention to the nature of the pressure you are under. If you decide the pressure is unnecessary, you should see how you can circumvent the pressure and deal with any associated tasks, in different, more balanced manner.

2) Don’t be a yes person 

A common cause of feeling pressure at work is by taking on more work than you can handle. Only accept work if you genuinely feel you have the capacity. If you know that a task can be done, then take it on. If you think it can’t be done, then you need to resolve the situation (i.e ask for help or delegate) and figure out a way that it can be done without sacrificing your work standard or mental health.

3) Plan ahead and ask yourself, “What if?”

Having a recovery plan or two in mind for if the pressure gets too much, can really help to relax your mind when working up against strict deadlines. Think of alternatives; even if you don’t need them, they will help you to handle pressure well, and you will be ready for the unforeseen, instead of helplessly panicking along the way which only serves to slow down your productivity.

4) Maintain self-control over yourself.

Your reactions to different challenges are part of the learning process, and it is sometimes necessary to take a step back when up against a challenge and asses how you react. Make sure you are in control over your emotions and you are not being overly negative in the work place or at home. If you feel unable to control your emotions then it’s a sign that the pressure is getting to you. In this scenario, it would be a good idea to take a step back or seek appropriate wellbeing help. If you feel you can, speaking to a superior about how your work environment is affecting you, could be beneficial if both of you draw up solutions to combat how you feel.

5) The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

The way that you deal with pressure at work will enable you to deal with the pressure in personal situations. If you can master pressure in one area of your life, you will learn to rise above challenges and grow in every area of your life. Eventually, those times will be a great source of pride.

Life comes with many hurdles and the better you handle these situations the higher your quality of life will be.

This blog was written with the help of Randa Hakim’s useful blog on workplace pressure here

 

 

Nature could be the key to your stress reduction

stress

We all fall foul to stress. It can hit us at any time and it can really dominate our thoughts for the rest of the day, week or even month. Stress is an indication that you are over-doing it, or that you are overwhelmed by aspects of your life. In today’s fast-paced world, sometimes exhausting hard work, is unavoidable, especially if you’re the ambitious type. However, there is one very interesting and scientifically proven way to help reduce your stress, permanently. It’s called forest bathing or also known as shinrin-yoku, in Japan where it is a very popular method to reduce the stress of urbanized city workers.

Forest bathing for stress – what the science says

A University of Rochester study found that just by simply looking at natural landscapes (as opposed to man-made environments) we feel more generous, connected to others, and in tune with our inner selves.

However when we actually immerse ourselves in a forest, (Japanese studies recommend a 2-hour walk, per week, to see a reduction in stress) the benefits are so much higher. Here’s why:

1. It reduces the stress hormone cortisol (making us less stressed)

Since 2004, the Japanese government has invested some three million euros in scientific research on the therapeutic effects of forests, particularly for stress reduction. Researchers, at the University of Chiba, measured the concentration of cortisol (a stress hormone) in individuals exposed to a forest environment in comparison to those who had remained in an office environment. The researchers found there was remarkably less cortisol in those exposed to the forest environment.

2. It increases our pleasure and empathy towards others

With advanced neurobiology techniques, the scientists were further able to confirm that walking or simply just being in a forest decreases the activity of the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain where cognitive functions focus on activities such as, planning, solving problems and making decisions. Instead, activity shifts to other parts of the brain related to emotion, pleasure, and empathy.

3. It builds our immune system

The immunologist Qing Li, from the Tokyo School of Medicine, has shown that a walk in a forest or a park significantly increases the concentration of a type of white blood cell that contributes to the fight against infections and against cancer. The beneficial effect of the walk of the forest can increase the white blood cells and anti-cancer proteins for up to to a week. According to Li, the volatile compounds emitted by trees are mainly responsible for this beneficial effect on the immune system. This is because plants produce something called “phytoncides”, which have been found, for centuries, to boost the human immune system and are still used and sold in popular homeopathic medicines, today.

Why you should use nature in your life for stress reduction

I heard a very inspiring quote yesterday, by Chris Pratt, a Hollywood actor, “I’m sharing this video….to entice any of you watching this who may feel unease or anxiety with the state of our world. Just breathe, slow down, go outside, find something not man-made and give it a good look“. Whilst I am not one to usually support Hollywood press, or advocate using it to find self-development meaning, this quote showed me that nature is a tool open to absolutely everyone. From the stressed-out single parent, trying to make it work in a demanding career, to Hollywood billionaires. It’s right outside our homes, free and can be found within a few hours of your urbanized city. There really is no excuse to not utilize this tool, to aid with the reduction of your stress.

Read more about the Japanese science of forest bathing here.

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