Ways to train your brain to perform better under pressure

Shutterstock

Whether it’s giving a presentation to a client or negotiating for a big deal, chances are you are always under a lot of pressure at work. Whatever pressure it is, your palms are likely to become sweaty, your stomach is likely to clench, and you may feel a bit confused. This can significantly affect your productivity at work. So what can you do to ensure that you are functioning at your best?

First, you must know what pressure is? According to scientists, one thing that pressure does is to ensure that you shift your mind away from all the potential good things and focus on all the things that could go wrong. Apart from reducing your working memory, pressure can also make you pay less attention to your performance.

Here are some of the things that you can do to handle pressure better.

Take care of your rewards
The reason why your focus of attention narrows down when you are pressurized is that your world tends to revolve around positive things. This means that if something is threatening your well being, it may seem like the world is not matching your motivational state. So, to be more creative, there has to be a match between your overall motivational state and the rewards in the environment. This means that your creativity is boosted when you focus on positive outcomes. The best way to practice this is to set up a system that can allow you to minimize any losses. This will help you to be more expansive and creative in your thoughts.

Practice a lot
According to Sian Beilock, a cognitive scientist, you need to practice in situations that carry the pressure that you face when you have to perform. For instance, if you fear public speaking, then you need to practice it. You can start by doing it to an empty room, then to a group of colleagues before finally delivering a talk to your audience.  By practicing this regularly, you can significantly reduce any pressure that you may face in the future. You might even realize that you suddenly enjoy public speaking.

Source: Shutterstock

Concentrate on the right stuff
When you practice, it’s also important to practice what you are going to do when you are under pressure. When you are under pressure, it’s important to train your mind so you can think about something productive. For example, when you are faced with a lot of pressure while negotiating, you need to engage in mock negotiations with your colleagues so that you can practice your skills. You can even have something written down with the most important elements of negotiation in front of you. This way, you’ll concentrate on monitoring the current state of negotiation during a negotiation instead of the aspects of the way you speak.