Dealing Elegantly With Pressure (Like Celebs On Oscar Night)

by Simona Terron
We’re constantly being told to aim higher than the competition, work harder and faster than everyone else, and prove how we’re the better candidate no matter what the arena. But this kind of rivalry can be toxic in the long run, making us less than stellar companions at home, on the playground, or even in the workplace.

And there’s no better place to watch this in action than at the Oscars, when the nominations are announced and everyone’s waiting with bated breath to hear the winner’s name. It’s almost deliciously cruel when the cameras pan the crowd to capture the nominees’ polite expressions as they wait for the announcement. It makes you wonder what they’re thinking, anticipating the stress they’re experiencing as they wait to learn whether their careers are going to explode or die with a whimper. All this in the full glare of the public eye, where the whole world who will not just be watching, but will have it on record for posterity.

Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne shares his account of tutoring his mother not to over-react at the Tony awards just in case he didn’t win. In fact, he was so effective in his schooling that she was hilariously afraid to react even when he won. Watch his description of this adorable incident during his appearance on the Graham Norton show:

That may have been cute but when rivalry rears its ugly head in your personal life, it’s time to do something about it in a way that’s smart and swift. Here are our tips on how to keep your cool in a high pressure situation and not lose your head when you need it the most.

4 Tips To Deal With Competitiveness & Stress:
  1. It sounds overrated but taking a really deep breath is a great way to cope with stress and anxiety. It fills you with energy and oxygenates your brain lending clarity and preventing you from saying or doing anything irrevocable.  
  2. Always try and assess the situation before you react, not matter how tempting it may be to let a remark fly. Read the room before choosing your words or actions.
  3. Find an ally. Whether you’re making a presentation to a tough room filled with mom and teachers, or suggesting changes to company policy at a board meeting, find that one person who seems like they’re not just paying attention but also empathizing with you. Focus on them and you will be less likely to stress out and fumble.
  4. Humor has its place but need to be employed with delicacy and a keen sense of timing. A well-crafted joke at the opportune moment can relieve tension in a strained exchange and make everyone relax just a little bit. It helps to get people to remember not to take themselves too seriously and that the problem, however serious, is only temporary and can be fixed if everyone collaborates.
Image: Shutterstock
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