9 Ways Introverts Can Embrace High Pressure Situations
Have you ever been on a first date or in an interview when you got so nervous you couldn’t think clearly and stumbled over your words? It can be pretty frustrating and possibly embarrassing. You aren’t alone. Most Introverts and Highly Sensitive People are easily overstimulated so we tend to struggle more in high pressure situations or any time we need to “perform” in front of others. Unfortunately, when this happens we have even more difficulty expressing ourselves and can become completely overwhelmed.
When you think of the following scenarios, how do you feel?
- Going to an interview for a job you really want.
- Making a big purchase such as buying a car.
- Having a first date.
- Attending an important networking or social event.
If you’re anything like me, you probably start to feel a little (or a lot) anxious! Your stomach churns and you start to think of a reason not to go. The thought of people watching you, the pressure to say the right thing and the difficulty of being in an unknown environment are all difficult for more introspective types. Avoiding these important life events and other high pressure situations are not always possible, so how can you navigate them as best as possible?
Before a Stressful Event
1. Get plenty of rest before and after the event. The more energy you have, the more you’ll be able to focus on what you want to say and manage your nerves.
2. Find an effective self-soothing technique that is easy to remember, so that you can calm yourself down when you start to feel anxious or overwhelmed. My favorites include taking three deep breaths, looking around the room to find an object I like and then focusing on its details for about thirty seconds or focusing on a body part that doesn’t feel anxious such as my feet.
3. Do your research and think about what you want to say in advance. For instance, if you are going to buy a car, decide on two or three choices beforehand and know the fair market value for each. If you are going to a networking event, think about the message you want to convey about yourself and your work.
4. Visit the location of the event ahead of time, if possible. For instance, if you are going on a first date, go to the coffee shop or restaurant the day before. Look for the spots that are quieter/have softer lighting, find the restroom and exits and glance at the menu. By reducing the amount of unknowns, you’ll have less to process and more energy for managing your emotions during the date. The more energy you have to keep your emotions regulated, the more energy you’ll have to focus on your intuition about your date.
During a Stressful Event
5. If possible, bring along a trusted friend or loved one. Someone who can provide support while you negotiate a price or who will be there after an interview to process what happened will be very helpful.
6. Practice your self-soothing techniques whenever you start to feel flustered or unfocused. If you need to, step away to the restroom for a few moments.
7. Give yourself as much time to reflect before making a decision. If you’re in an interview, say you need a moment to think the question over. Better to pause and give a well-thought out answer than a rushed answer that doesn’t represent what you have to offer.
After a Stressful Event
8. Allow yourself time to process the details of the event. This could be done through journaling, talking with a friend or therapist or just allowing your mind to wander through the memories of the event.
9. Offer yourself some appreciation for embracing something that was difficult for you. Even if you didn’t feel successful overall, take time to notice the little accomplishments such as showing up and getting out of your comfort zone.
Next time you have a high pressure event to attend, remember to gift yourself time to prepare beforehand so that you know what to expect and have energy to manage any anxiety that arises. A little bit of preparation before and some self-care during will make a big difference. There’s no reason to miss out on these important life events, it’s just a matter of making some minor adjustments. You can do it!