These days, I’m ultra-calm under pressure. I never used to be. I used to be a frazzled, frantic person when I had a ton of stuff on my plate. I’d stress out when urgency was squeezing me.
I’d usually get my stuff done, but in a chaotic way, leaving heaps of loose threads hanging. I had a terrible habit where I’d roll all my undealt with problems over to the next day which sucks because you know they’re there, waiting for you, bigger than they were the day before.
So I’d drink more, use more drugs, gamble more because that’s what I did to deal with stress. I was an addict who pressed pause on my problems, with addiction. Turns out this fixes nothing and wrecks everything.
Becoming calm under pressure seems like a baby benefit of the bunch, but it’s become obvious enough to me that I’m adding it to my list.
A few months into my mindful drawing practice, I noticed I began to be calm under pressure.
I noticed it because it was new and it was different. I watched it kick in, and then evolve.
Now, when something needed to be done urgently or the pressure was on, instead of being affected by the stress, I was different. I became calm under pressure. I could observe myself move deliberately. Methodically.
The more urgent and important something was pressing – the more I’d move through it with a clear mind and measured, calculated moves. I’d see myself moving in a way where not a move was wasted.
I know this came from my mindful drawing practice, because this is exactly what I re-trained my brain to do.
I draw in a steady, focused way, putting all of my effort into each circle, line and pattern that I’m drawing.
When I first started doing this, every time I fell out of awareness and back into autopilot, I noticed my brain took over and wanted me to hurry. I’d automatically speed up, and I’d draw faster and more carelessly. And I’d catch myself and pull it back again repeatedly.
I've trained my brain to resist the unconscious compulsion to move fast.
This change went with me, away from my mindful drawing practice and out into my life (as many benefits did). I noticed it now applied out there too.
Now I see it kick in during times of stress, and I notice it in emergencies. It absolutely kicks in during family crises. It affects EVERYTHING that relates to pressure.
Now, I do not respond to urgency with frantic moves. My new program immediately and automatically kicks in. I pull back and I see myself move through it slower and more efficiently.
One of the Principles of Mindful Drawing, is "Go slow, get into the flow".
Repetition programs this principle into your mind and it sticks. It becomes a part of your new personality. Your new traits.
Becoming calm under pressure isn’t a massive benefit that’s affected my life profoundly like some other benefits have. Not all benefits are total game changers – but none are insignificant either. They all affect your life in some way, big or small.
When you move deliberately and methodically in response to urgency, your breath, heart rate and nervous system also remain calm. You don’t respond to stress in the way you used to.
You become more level-headed, calmer and far more effective.