This brief practical guide will provide feasible recommendations for developing emotional control in high pressure situations.

  • Encouraging Emotional Intelligence: This very useful form of intelligence can begin to be developed simply by asking individuals to be more aware of their emotions and reactions in high pressure situations. Frequent prompts during these situations may be initially necessary to encourage individuals to recognise and acknowledge their emotions.
  • Reappraisal: Reappraisal of a situation using psychological skills such as positive self-talk and imagery can increase belief of performing successfully. Encouraging individuals to praise themselves either internally or aloud following successful performance and encouraging themselves when they are not performing well, can greatly increase confidence and focus. Imagery also increases these valuable attributes as it can facilitate focus on correct technique. Finally, reappraisal can occur in terms of physiological symptoms of arousal. Individuals should be encouraged to appraise feelings such as butterflies or increased heartrate as readiness for performance as opposed to anxiety.
  • Situation Selection: This is a practice which is simple to implement with little skill required, therefore it is feasible for many individuals. Individuals should be instructed how to place themselves in a desirable situation when possible, as opposed to an undesirable one when facing a high-pressure situation. This increases the likelihood of achieving a desired emotional state.
  • Changing Arousal: This involves practices such as progressive muscular relaxation and deep-breathing exercises. There are many books and applications which can guide individuals through these practices.
  • Mindfulness: This practice perhaps requires more commitment both financially and in terms of effort, however meditation can be very beneficial in terms of emotional control and overall wellbeing. There are many online and face-to-face mindfulness courses available, after which, mindfulness is a largely feasible and convenient practice.