When I was a kid, I joined the scouts and spent many days in fun, social and character building activities. The Scouts motto is “Be prepared” and that stuck with me as an excellent idea, although as an adult and a parent I have to be prepared for very different things.
One of the things I think we should all be prepared for is pressure. Pressure comes in a wide variety of shapes in our life – lack of sleep, hunger, a looming deadline at work, a baby screaming, physical pain, a growing debt, an accident, an illness, someone’s death and so on. Each one of these presents a different challenge, but the common theme to all of them is that we are overwhelmed by emotion and all too often, reason goes out the window.
In a normal situation, when somebody cracks a joke at our expense, we may laugh along, but when we are under stress, we are more likely to lash out. Later, when we remember the situation, we may regret our outburst, but it is often too late to change its effects.
So how can we be prepared for times of stress?
First, we need to learn to pay attention, both to our internal universe and to how the world around us flows. Second, we should develop subconscious anchors that will help stop us before we do too much damage and allow us to remain productive even under pressure.