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3 Tips Hospital Leaders Can Use to Cope in High-Pressure Situations

By Thomas Gole, DO, FAAFP14 Dec 2015

smiling-doctor-in-front-of-team.jpgRegardless of years of experience, we all make mistakes from time to time—and know that knot in your stomach that comes with them. And because you’re in charge of a hospital, you likely face more pressures than most. But just like many of life’s situations, the key to coming out on top is to remain calm.

You’ve likely seen many tips on how to remain calm, from meditation to yoga and more. But research from Harvard Business School reveals that many of us go about trying to stay calm incorrectly. Instead of forcing ourselves to remain calm in a stressful situation, the school suggests that we welcome the challenge of a crisis. Not just welcome it, but be excited by the idea of overcoming the challenge.

How exactly do you prepare yourself to welcome a crisis? It all comes down to your mentality. Here are three tips you can use to successfully cope in high-pressure situations.

1. Put Things into Perspective

Making a mistake or dealing with the consequences of another’s mistake is stressful. But it’s important to use logic to put things into perspective. Is this mistake going to cause you to lose your home? Will you have to live out of your car? Not likely. It’s easy to catastrophize your thoughts when a mistake first happens, but Entrepreneur recommends asking yourself the following to overcome those thoughts:

  • What’s the worst thing that could happen as a result of this?
  • Will this matter in five years?

2. Magnify Your Logic

Now that you’ve got those catastrophic thoughts under control, use your logic to take stock of the situation and ask factual questions like:

  • What exactly happened?
  • What repercussions could happen as a result?
  • Is there time to avoid the repercussions, and if so, who needs to be involved?
  • What can be done to lessen the damage?

3. Take Action

Now is an excellent time to put your newfound mentality of getting excited by a challenge to work. Pour your energy into fixing the situation. This can be empowering and a distraction from any additional anxiety that might surface as you work through the problem.

As hard as it may seem, controlling your emotions in times of stress can help your success. And while no one likes making mistakes, staying calm and in control in the face of a mistake can help you assess the situation, remedy it and move on.

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