Tips for Staying Cool and Calm

Julie Shenkman
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Most administrative positions come with a healthy dose of stress. While some stress is unavoidable, how you handle stress on a daily basis determines not only the quality of your performance at work, but also your quality of life. Managing your emotions and staying calm under pressure are imperative skills to maintaining your mental and physical health. Here are a few tips on staying calm and composed when under pressure.

The importance of sleep cannot be overstated in the battle against stress. Chronic sleep deprivation raises the levels of stress hormones in your body, causing your body to operate in a constant state of inflammation and reducing your attention span, memory and self-control. Deep, restorative sleep is your body's only chance to recharge its batteries and renew your focus. To stay calm and clear-headed every day, start by making it a priority to get enough sleep. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends, to get your body on a consistent sleep schedule.

Breathing deeply during periods of high stress can also help you stay calm. The practice of taking slow, deep, deliberate breaths actually helps to sharpen your focus and reduce anxiety. If you begin to feel stressed, take a short "breathe" break. Close the door, turn off the radio, sit down and just focus on deeply breathing in and out. Don't worry if your mind begins to wander, as this is to be expected. Just a couple of minutes of breathing can help you to achieve a little clarity, reduce stress and put things into perspective. When you return to work, you should feel calmer and more relaxed. Perform this exercise every day to stay calm in hectic environments.

Another way to stay calm under pressure is to limit your caffeine intake. The reason caffeine increases alertness is because it causes your body to release adrenaline, also called the "fight-or-flight" hormone. Caffeine essentially puts your brain into an artificially enhanced state of stress. While this may be convenient for plowing through your to-do list at record speed, it is detrimental to your ability to stay calm.

Lastly, take advantage of your support system. It can be tempting to think you need to take care of everything on your own. However, to stay calm and limit stress, it's important to ask for help when you need it. This doesn't just apply to work situations. Identify family members or friends who you can count on for support, and seek their advice or assistance when times get tough. Sometimes, just having someone to vent out your frustrations to is enough to get your stress levels down.

It is important to remember that while some stress is necessary and unavoidable, how you respond to it is entirely under your control. Getting enough sleep, practicing deep breathing, reducing caffeine and relying on an outside support system are all healthy ways to prevent stress and stay calm under pressure.


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