THURSDAY THOUGHTS! - How do you deal with pressure?

Posted by | May 03, 2012 | Other Blog Posts | No Comments

With thanks to Alison Crawford for the Thursday Thoughts! question idea this week.

The BBC launched a new international psychological on-line test to give you some insight as to how you react under pressure or in stressful situations, and how you might improve that performance.  It takes about 20 minutes to complete.  It’s launch is linked to improving competitive performance (Olympic year) but its equally useful to analysing how you perform at interview or any other relatively stressful workplace situation.  Its a fascinating test so our question this week is:

“Should people accept that pressure is a fact of life?”

Do you recognise when situations move from being pressurised to being stressful?  Can you identify any symptoms or triggers in your own behaviour or mood which would indicate this?
I took the test on Tuesday, and my results are as follows:
– happiness is my key emotion for high performance
– medium consistency (but with improvements on Tuesday)
– medium improvement (you take the cube test 4 times – I got better each time I did it)
– high efficiency
– I have low suppression to hearing negativity (good listener/grounded/dont ignore or filter out others!) and high reappraisal skills for personally dealing with that negativity or helping others to deal with it (thats why I’m an OD person!)
– the psychological technique that I practiced during the test gave me only moderate improvement, but it suggests I need to practice more  techniques  if I want to improve my performance more.  I will indeed do a bit of this to see what changes.
If you also want to do the test (its quite painless!), the link is here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17874450
Feel free to take it (you can do it more than once if you wish) and see what your indicators are but please share your thoughts or ideas by way of comments to this piece too 😉
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Sharon Davidson
Organisational development professional specialising in personal, team and whole organisation improvement. Full range of OD tools and techniques available including: Belbin team role analysis; learning style inventories; 360 degree feedback; cultural assessments; personality psychometrics; strategic planning and workshop facilitation. (This list is not exhaustive!)

Improvement is everyone's concern: +44 1550 720902 will start that process today.

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  • Peggy Edwards says:

    That was interesting. I got better at the cube test second time but worse after the self talk – I felt it got in the way of what I was concentrating on. I was also guided by happiness but did suppress negative feelings, and they are right it does make you tired – exactly what I am feeling now.I seem to be someone who looks at the emotions I am feeling and tries to re-interpret them. I try to change a negative emotion by actively thinking about the situation differently – and funny this is one of my mantras – ‘it can always be worse’. I must be honest I am internally competitive, I want my own way BUT I can NOT stand motivational things, especially when I am exercising, it distracts me and I can’t perform at my best either when I am running or when I am working.
    I once had a conversation with an olympic 100 m gold medal winner – I asked him whether he used a sports psychologist and he laughed. He said no psycholgist knows what it is like to stand on that starting blocks so they can’t possibly have any idea what they are talking about. I rest my case.

  • Aresko says:

    Interesting Peggy. I don’t agree with his comment about no psychologist knowing what it feels like in general terms. Psychologist do, after all, measure how we feel in a multitude of situations and the one he was referring to is merely another stressful situation. Sports psychologist do this all the time for example. So I would err on the side of caution and suspect he was a rather young athlete or in the very least, a very naive one!

    I’d encourage a rather more open-mind than you encountered in that example.

    This is just ONE way of motivating the mind and body. There are, of course, a full spectrum available. Not everyone likes being screamed at a-la-army style!

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