Expect Calm Under Pressure?

eweber   January 10, 2009   35 Comments

Experts tell us that when the going gets roughbrain chemicals get going. My question is, Do they move you into calm or chaos? If you’ve ever felt your amygdala heat up when a person upsets you – or if you’ve basked in inspiration of genuine encouragement, you also know a brain’s hormonal force. Far fewer people, however, take advantage of brainpower tools to choose between calm or pressured reactions that impact their outcomes for better or worse. Do you blame others or grow stronger in difficult situations?

Surprisingly, it’s not so much the pressure or problem that pummels you, as it’s your response – or tone skills you use – to the pounding that decides what fate will follow. Depending on chemicals you carry out of the gates, you’ll either create calm or chaos within your brain’s chemical and electrical networks. Solutions in the face of pressures come faster when we choose calm, and then act out choices for well being and resolutions. Notice I avoid references to how you feel here. Chemical or electrical chaos comes when you choose to eat for comfort, panic and run from fears while pressures mount, or punch back. It boils down to a frantic or focus week. Have you seen recent research on the dangers of stress?

Let’s say you are down in the dumps because you’re sinking under financial pressures or caught in credit card debt. Add to that people make demands and each challenge seems to require more money, packing new punches for more pressure. Been there? Unbelievably, you have choices, impossible as it seems when bombarded by pressures flying at you like bats in a dark cave.

Cortisol reaction adds stress – You worsen chances to win, when you choose to worry, avoid extra bills that come in since you cannot pay them anyway, run scarred and vent but avoid acting on solutions, because there’s little you feel you can do under the cortisol generated by these approaches.

Serotonin reaction adds calm - You add well being to calm whenever you decide that you are going to try a few solutions to pay off credit cards. For instance, you might download Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan free on Oprah.com, search for answers that specialists recommend, and then act on one solution that most resonates.  Or you might take a trusted financial expert to lunch and ask for suggestions to get you started. Any of these acts will likely add to serotonin generated by a positive approach toward doable solutions.

What choice will guide your finances in the rocky year ahead. I find myself securing my choices for calm, as I write this blog.  You?

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35 thoughts on “Expect Calm Under Pressure?

  1. Cathy Goodwin

    Great advice and backed by science too. My clients often don’t know what action to take or where to start (especially if they’re terrified of being laid off or if they’ve just lost their jobs). It’s easy to get taken by the fastest-talking pro (e.g., someone who promises to “get your name in front of 1000 hiring executives”). You have to slow down the process. Didn’t neuroscientists recently identify a part of the brain that taps into intuition?

  2. eweber Post author

    Great question, Cathy, and your clients are lucky to have you with them at the helm:-)

    Sadly, fast talking “pros” tend to jump toward toxic settings faster than toads to water. Luckily brilliant opportunities also appear on or near the same horizons for those who learn to run in their meadows. What you are recommending as slowing down the process – I suggest reflection. Both work and they’re a bit like two oars to one boat.

    As you suggest here – there is wonderful new research out to show how intuitive intelligence works. It’s also called “intrapersonal” intelligence and it comes in handy especially when we need to step back, make personal choices, and then move forward with improved results. People who have higher intuitive intelligence, tend to use and develop if daily, just as you do here.

    Thanks for stopping by to help us chart a new way forward financially in 2009!

  3. Marianna

    I love what you have written here!

    We are our own “pharmacy”, complete with negative & positive side-effects. Endorphins, oxytocin, cortisol, adrenaline, etc., plus the accompanying physical changes – we take this for granted and we underestimate that our thoughts & emotions affect our physiological state.

    I like knowing that I can improve how I feel emotionally, mentally & physically by simply doing some techniques that activate the power of the heart which improves cortical facilitation.

  4. eweber Post author

    Thanks Marianna, for your kind words and encouragement! You are so right that we take laughter for granted, and yet we tend to miss it when we get stuck for a day with poker faces. Worse still – when we turn our own smiles into poker lips!

    I plan to ratchet up my own positive side effects in spite of pressures I face in running an international center in times of international upheaval. You?

  5. Wally Bock

    This is an informative post, Ellen. It puts a scientific underpinning under what I often tell coaching clients: “Take a positive action that moves you in the direction you want to go” and you will feel both calmer and more in control.

    I wonder if there’s something more you can suggest for the immediate moment of pressure. In my “calmness” training for example I suggest taking and counting three diaphragmatic breaths because that action forces you to use parts of the brain that don’t engage the emotions. Is there something specific we can do that helps the body decide which brain chemical is best?

  6. eweber Post author

    Great suggestion to help brain under pressure, Wally. We tend to use tactics that relate to the solutions that folks go after. So if money is the pressure, we suggest the first positive step toward a remedy and then show how that alters brain chemicals and creates a new neuron pathway toward the solution that had been alluding them. The brain chemicals will follow the action that one takes in a positive or solution based direction:-)

  7. eweber Post author

    Thanks for your kind words and it’s a real privilege to offer words that can support other leaders in these pressured times! So glad you stopped by Zeugidor:-)

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