Extreme pressure. These are the moments we dread. It’s the type of pressure that comes from finding out seriously bad news. Or when it’s not just your paycheck on the line, but your job. It’s the pressure that ramps up stress and makes your heart race and your palms sweat.

So how do you stand up under pressure so intense that you’re losing sleep over it? Believe it or not, it’s easier than you think.

1. Get emotional. The starting point of managing extreme pressure is right here, in that first reaction. First and foremost, you need to feel what you’re going to feel. Swallowing your emotions are only going to do serious damage to your physical and mental health. So give yourself some space. Upset? Then yell. Sad? It’s ok to cry. Let it out. The trick is to not stay there in the emotions. Let them run their course, and then move on.

2. Find a support system. When under this kind of pressure, you’re going to need people you can count on who will be there with you through the long haul. Evaluate your contacts. Who’s reliable? Who has always had your back? Draw those people around you, and then let them know what’s going on. They can’t help if they don’t know about the problem.

3. Meditate or relax. Rather than let the pressure build up to toxic levels in your body, take some time to do something relaxing. Jog, garden, bake. If it’s a relaxing activity for you, then do it. Or you can try meditation. Even a few minutes spent in a deep state of relaxation is beneficial. What makes it even nicer is that meditation isn’t hard to learn, and you can do it anywhere.

4. Address the issues. Extreme pressure is only made worse by anxiety and panic. If you’re exacerbating the problem with your reactions, then it’s time to face your fears. Ask yourself what the trigger is, and then take the time to address it

5. Find someone who’s been there before. Mentors are invaluable, especially when you’re in new territory. Having someone who can walk you through what happens next is the difference between floundering, lost in a sea of new information and stepping out with confidence.

Extreme pressure is going to happen whether we like it or not. Thankfully with the right strategies in place, not only can we learn how to manage it but we can reduce the physical effects of it right from the start. The good news is, most extreme pressure is a temporary thing. You will get through this; you can count on that.

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