Managing emotions under pressure can seem like an impossible task. 


In our increasingly busy lives filled with endless to-do’s and seemingly not enough time in the day, it’s easy to feel like your trapped inside of a snow globe; shaken and scattered in all directions; a hazy and chaotic swirl. You feel lost and overwhelmed, waiting for a moment of clarity, the snow to stop and settle.

The pressure of everyday life can make it challenging to prioritize what promptly needs your attention and what can be set aside.


Whether we’re aware of it or not, the non-stop pressure begins to take its toll overtime.  Have you ever wanted to scream or lash out, seemingly out of nowhere? Perhaps you have found yourself feeling unmotivated, overwhelmed, or unable to follow through with even the simplest tasks because you are burnt out. One reason you may feel this way is that your emotions are out of balance and you’re experiencing the squeeze as a result of unmanaged stress. Learning to manage your emotions under pressure is key to a calm, centered and harmonious life.


The feeling of pressure in itself isn’t necessarily good or bad.


The pressure you feel to complete a project at work or put in extra hours studying for an important exam can give you the added boost of adrenaline and motivation to reach your deadline or ace your test.  Long-term pressure, on the other hand, leads to stress.  This emotional stress is harmful to both your mental and emotional health.


We have all been there before. The stressors of life slowly wear on us and then an unforeseen event happens – a family member gets sick, an unexpected bill pops up, a relationship comes to an end, we lose a job, etc.  This unplanned event ultimately winds up being the trigger that results in our mind and body succumbing to the pressures of life. Often times we feel these pressures physically (perhaps a tight chest) and mentally (a foggy brain).

The inability to deal with the overflow of negative emotions makes it increasingly likely that we indulge in risky and unhealthy behaviors.


For example, you may find yourself over-indulging in unhealthy foods or excessively drinking alcohol.  These harmful habits may be an outlet to temporarily “deal with” the pain of emotional pressure, however, they’re not addressing the underlying root issue of what is causing you emotional distress in the first place.  The end result – harmful habits used as a crutch end up creating more damage than good.


Our mindset and emotions impact how we respond to events.


Being in tune with your emotions will grant you a head start when under pressure. Negative emotions often get a bad rap, but they are not always bad and can be constructive. Negative emotions will keep you authentic by allowing you to convey your true feelings and needs. Negative feelings can also act as a signal that something isn’t right and that you are in need of change (that gut instinct). These protective aspects of negative emotions, along with positive emotions such as gratitude, happiness, hope, inspiration, pride, etc., are what help shape us.  Together, these positive and negative emotions create you; a unique, colorful, and lively being.  Emotions are the gateway for you to fully express yourself. Emotions bring a lot to the table, but why do they become harmful?  The answer begins with unmanaged pressure and stress and ends with not knowing how best to navigate challenging people and times.

Stress is an inevitable part of life.


As a human, you deal with stressful situations during your day-to-day life, but it’s important to pay attention to how you deal with both minor and major stressors.  The ability to distinguish between minor and major stressors will allow you to know when to seek change. We all know the old saying, “don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill.”  Knowing what is “truly a mountain” and what is “merely a mole hill” is an essential first step in properly managing emotions under pressure.  The next step is knowing how to cope with stress through the use of powerful tools that can help regulate your emotions, especially if the pressure of these negative emotions impedes on your well-being.

Life is full of highs and lows, but this does not mean that you need to feel as though you are not in control of how you respond.  You can learn how to manage your emotions under pressure.

We know that emotions significantly influence our mood – so how do you manage to shift your focus to remain calm and collected during high-pressure / intense situations?




Take inventory of your thoughts, feelings, sensations and internal dialogue. Ask yourself what your needs are in the present moment and what steps you can take to fulfill those needs. Make the choice to remain calm and take responsibility for your emotions to avoid projecting them onto others. Sometimes, it’s enough to take a deep breath and ask yourself, “what am I feeling?” “What triggered me to make me feel this way?” and “Is there another approach that I can take in this moment?” (These are great journal prompts, by the way!) The goal here is to cool the jets and aim for regulation, not repression of your emotions. It is important to slow down, breathe and be clear about your needs in the present moment.



Identify how you might lessen the emotional charge by embracing situations, people, and emotions at face value and for exactly what they are. This practice can be challenging at times, but by viewing a situation at face value you can better begin to settle into your emotions rather than have them overcome you.

Consider a mantra.


Focusing on words and slowing your breath are a great way to anchor yourself in the present moment, give your mind a much-needed rest, and reclaim your power.  A favorite of mine is,

“I have control over how I feel, and I choose to feel at peace.”


Close your eyes, place your hand over your heart and repeat the mantra several times to yourself. This is an empowering reminder that you may not have control over all circumstances, but you are in control of how you feel at that moment and can choose how you respond to the situation. You can manage your emotions by allowing yourself to acknowledge and then release what is not serving you. Experiencing and releasing is a healthy way to cope with emotions under pressure.

Move your body.

One of the best ways to relieve stress is to simply move. This is a quick and effective way to move your energy around, sweep out the dark corners, declutter your mind and allow feel good endorphins to take over. You may choose to take a yoga class or simply get outdoors and enjoy a brisk walk, or even put on your favorite song and dance like nobody’s watching.


Meditation is a great way to learn to observe your thoughts free of judgement. It is particularly powerful in helping you gain a new perspective and create greater awareness of yourself. You will tap into your own truth without the distractions of society or the validation of others. This is how you transform into the best version of yourself.


Think of journaling as having a heart-to-heart with yourself. Your journal is for you and you only. Not only will journaling allow you to self-reflect in a raw, compassionate, and unedited way, it also serves as a therapeutic stress-management tool. Consistently journaling will help you connect to your truest innermost thoughts, needs, and desires. Find a comfortable seat and meditate.  Follow up your meditation by jotting down what you observed and uncovered into your journal. This is a great way to reflect, unwind, and de-stress.


Surround yourself with your favorite people and stay connected to them because it’s important to have a strong support system. Remember that we all endure struggles from time-to-time. No matter how big or small or unrelatable you think your struggle might be, find comfort in knowing that someone else is out there experiencing the same thing. Let your struggles be a constant reminder of your resilience and strength.  In addition to your friends and family, connecting with a coach is also great option. Coaches offer continued support and encouragement and will also act as a guide to help you establish a healthy mindset – creating healthy and lasting habits during your wellness journey.

We are meant to experience and express the full range of our emotions and we must be willing to embrace all aspects of ourselves.


Remember, staying true to these emotions keeps you authentic and helps signal you when a change is needed.  It is essential that you allow your mind and body to process all emotions in a healthy way.  When you repress emotions, you are denied the opportunity to fully express yourself. When the pressure of life begins to catch up with you it is key to remain self-aware, compassionate, and mindful as a way to reframe your thoughts and shift your focus. Most importantly, be gentle with yourself. Give yourself time to process your emotions and to feel all the feels – positive and negative.  Slow down, trust the process and know that you are exactly where you need to be.  And remember,

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” – Mahatma Gandhi.