Ways to perform well when you’re under pressure.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Performing well under pressure.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How do you perform when you’re under pressure?

Are you one of those people who are at your best when under pressure? Or are you one of those people who choke when the pressure is on?

People who perform well under pressure have developed the right mindsets, attitudes, and skills. Challenges don’t derail them; they energize them. You too can learn to perform well under pressure. Here are some of the techniques that will help you do better when the pressure is on.

Giving yourself as much time as possible reduces the pressure.

Some people delude themselves into believing that the way to get something done is to wait until the last possible minute. They tell themselves that they perform better under pressure. Unfortunately, what many people do when the pressure is lower their standards. Students who wait until the night before the paper is due can get an essay written in a very short amount of time. They also often do poorly and then use the lack of time as an excuse. Start as soon as possible on any new project. That allows you to correct mistakes. Build some extra time in your plans for those tasks, which ended up taking longer than you expected.

Practice skills beforehand reduce the pressure.

When under pressure, humans tend to revert to their usual way of doing things. To be able to make use of skills you are learning, you need to over-practice those skills until they become automatic. The better prepared you are for the challenge, the less stressful it will be. If you have thoroughly practiced a necessary skill, your muscles will remember it and perform that task automatically.

Use positive affirmations to reduce stress.

Putting yourself down will damage your performance. People who believe in themselves do better. Positive affirmations shouldn’t be a matter of lying to yourself. Tell yourself you can do it, and you probably will be able to. Tell yourself this will be the best performance anyone has ever done, and your brain will know you’re lying and try to sabotage you. Positive affirmations are a way to psych yourself up and maximize your performance.

Developing a positive stress mindset improves performance.

Viewing the task ahead as stressful makes it more challenging to accomplish. Looking for opportunities to grow and develop improves your performance. People with a positive stress mindset are energized by opportunities rather than being exhausted by them.

Tell your inner critic to shut up.

The evidence from psychology tells us that self-criticism is rarely helpful. Everyone has an inner critic telling them they can’t do this, or they’re not good enough. Some people are so used to listening to the inner critic that they find daily life stressful. Other people have practiced ignoring that inner critic enough that they rarely hear the inner critic’s voice anymore. The time for evaluation of what you have done is after everything is over, not before. Don’t start making excuses before you even begin the project.

For more on this topic see this article.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders, see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

What is your stress mindset?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Stressed

Feeling stressed out?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How stress affects you depends on your stress mindset.

When we say something is stressful, most people think of this as a bad thing. Some stress is harmful. But sometimes stress can be helpful. Research tells us that without stress hormones, you might have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. Stress hormones can divert blood flow to muscles making you run faster. A little bit of stress can also improve your alertness and attention. How your stress affects you depends on your stress mindset.

We experience stress in two different situations. There’s the ongoing kind of stress that comes from a demanding job or challenging home situation. If you’re unemployed, that’s stressful. Stress can also be the result of a sudden need to perform well. Going for that big job interview, that can be significantly stressful also. Having an unexpected significant challenge, making a speech, finishing a project, or taking a big test can all be stressful.

What will happen to you when you’re faced with a challenge? Are you one of those people who fall apart under stress? Or are you the type of person that can rise to the occasion, for whom stress brings out the best in you? How stress will affect you is likely to be the result of the thing some psychologists describe as your stress mindset.

Do you have a negative stress mindset?

If you face stress with the belief that this is awful, harmful, and debilitating, you have a negative stress mindset. People with a negative stress mindset repeatedly experience stressful events as unpleasant, or debilitating. They worry about things in advance. A negative stress mindset makes it more difficult to cope with a challenging task.

People with a negative stress mindset often believe they do not have the resources necessary to cope with the stressor and experience the challenge as exhausting. If you expect things to be stressful, you will try to avoid them rather than trying something new which may be beneficial.

What’s a positive stress mindset?

People who see stress positively believe that it can improve their focus. They see challenges as opportunities to up their game. For them, stress increases their motivation. The challenging activity provides them a chance to learn and grow as well as to display their talents to others. As the pressure rises, their performance improves.

People who have a positive stress mindset, when faced with a difficult task, look for ways to cope with the challenge. They view this challenge as an opportunity for learning and growth. They are likely to come out of the experience energized regardless of the outcome.

People who believe in the potential positive outcomes from stress are less likely to be overwhelmed by difficult life circumstances.

How can you cope with pressure?

Developing a positive stress mindset can improve your ability to cope with pressure. Think of pressure as another form of exercise. Avoiding exercise results in you becoming weaker. Avoiding anything stressful reduces your ability to cope. Look for small things that you can do to challenge herself to develop better coping-skills when under stress.

Learn to interpret those butterflies in your stomach as excitement rather than thinking of them as a warning of danger. Preparing in advance for the possible stressful event can reduce that feeling of stress. A big test will be more stressful if you haven’t studied for the exam. Practicing needed skills until they are automatic will make you more confident in performance situations. But all that preparation will not help you if you interpret challenges with a negative stress mindset.

Look for the positive benefits of challenging situations.

Developing a positive stress mindset includes learning to view each new challenge as an opportunity to grow and improve. When faced with the unexpected situation, look for the potential positive outcomes. Ruminating about what could go wrong will make the event more stressful. Focusing on opportunities will reduce the feeling of stress.

To reduce stress, don’t listen to your inner critic.

Putting yourself down doesn’t improve your performance. Most of us have an inner critic telling us we are not good enough. Critics criticize. Those who accomplish things in life ignore their inner critic and move forward. If you expect to do poorly, your performance will sink to the level your brain expects.

For more on this topic see:     Stress or Productivity

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders, see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.