Some people would say that they perform best under pressure. They believe that their brains are actually stimulated more when they’re under pressure because of the adrenaline rush! On the flip side, however, are the people who freeze like deer in the headlights when subjected to a high-pressure situation.
How Pressure Affects an Individual’s Performance
High-pressure situations can be so scary that they can leave people frozen in fear. Just like deer caught in the headlights, they freeze. Instead of the usual “fight or flight” response, these people are unsure what to do next. They don’t fight, yet they don’t flee, either!
While this might not be an issue for many, it could be a tough situation for others.
Nerves can get to you, leading to poor performance at work or as a musician. That might even apply to gamers trying to win on ESPA but are feeling scared of losing! They could end up with a bad or mediocre performance even if they’re really good at the game.
Many people see high-pressure situations as a threat, which triggers anxiety and a host of other unwanted feelings. Some might even experience panic attacks or bouts of depression.
Considering that many of us bank on our performance at work to make a living, we all want to avoid such high-pressure situations as much as possible. No matter what field of work you’re in, your boss counts on your performance to ensure that the company runs well and that you complete your tasks within a reasonable deadline.
So, it would be a good idea to keep calm and do your best to cope with stressful situations.
Examples of High-Pressure Situations
Whether you’re an entry-level employee or someone who’s already high up in the corporate ladder, or even the boss, you could face high-pressure situations in your job.
You may also have to deals with stressful experiences at home or, in the case of musicians and other performers, it might be before or during an important gig.
Presentations before a crowd
Some people who have a phobia of crowds and performing or doing presentations in front of a crowd. It sounds rather unbelievable, but many celebrities avoid their fans as much as possible because they suffer from stage fright or social anxiety when surrounded by large numbers of people.
For example, after suffering from bouts of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, pop star Selena Gomez, took a break from her career in 2016.
Singer Adele also talks openly about her severe “fear of audiences.” She experiences extreme anxiety when performing in front of a crowd and suffers from severe physical symptoms before she steps on stage.
The fear gets to her so much that she often throws up before a performance. Yet she always sounds so perfect during concerts, right?
Students and employed individuals often experience panic attacks as deadlines loom. While some manage to breeze through these situations gracefully, those still far from completing their assigned tasks might experience panic attacks out of fear that they might fail to finish on time.
Massive errors at work
Imagine being responsible for a massive error at work that cost the company a lot of money. That’s so crazy, right? Indeed, the employee will feel anxious about what might happen next and how the company will react to the situation. Will they have to pay the company for the losses incurred due to this error or, worse, will that mean termination?
Traumatic or emergency situations
There are many instances when emergency situations are so traumatic that they make you freeze out of fear. It’s hard to imagine people still expecting you to perform your best after such an experience.
How to Deal with High-Pressure Situations
Everyone experiences different struggles in life, but it’s essential to understand that there are many ways to cope with high-pressure situations. You can even turn anxiety into something to power your determination!
Here are some of the best ways to deal with high-pressure anxiety:
Instead of perceiving the situation as a threat, why not use it as a challenge instead? By turning a dangerous situation into a challenge, you’ll be motivated to give your best efforts to solve the situation. Instead of worrying, you’ll soon enjoy the situation no matter how difficult it was at the start.
During high-pressure situations, there are plenty of factors that you don’t have any say in. You can’t really do anything about these “uncontrollables.” Therefore, rather focus on the things that you can control.
Make pre-Performance routine
Practice makes perfect. That might sound clichéd, but developing a routine, particularly before your big performance, is something that will give you a sense of familiarity and confidence. Moreover, this routine keeps you focused on the things that matter and gives you little room to worry too much.
Think of past success
Afraid that you might fail? Well, a lot of people have failed but still managed to rise up and succeed! If you haven’t reached that kind of level yet, don’t worry. You can always bank on your past success to keep you going.
Just focus on the task, not the outcome
If all the above-mentioned coping strategies fail, then just forget everything and focus on the task at hand.
Unsure whether the interviewer will be biased and might not accept you because you think you’re too young and don’t have any experience with the job? Well, don’t think that far ahead. Instead, focus on your strengths and what you’re capable of right now.
Focusing on the positives will help ease your worries. It can help you deal with the anxiety and fear that you might be feeling. Aside from thinking happy, positive thoughts, surround yourself with positive people. They’re sure to lift you up.
Above everything, keep calm. It’s also a good idea to get a good night’s sleep and rest before your “performance,” whatever that may be!