We all experience the stress of high pressure situations – making a presentation in front of your company’s board of directors, answering questions during a job interview, or taking a standardized test. These are times when you don’t want your nerves to get the best of you.

Learning to relax under pressure is a valuable life skill, and this guided relaxation will help you do just that. Through calm breathing, relaxing tense muscles, and calming your thoughts, you’ll be able to stay calm and focused even under stressful situations

Let’s begin in a comfortable position, so we can concentrate on breathing.

Inhale deeply –¬†and exhale slowly.

In…out.

Keep breathing slowly like this. You can slow your breathing even more by counting. Inhale to the count of 4…hold to the count of 3…and breathe out to the count of 5…

Breathe in…2…3…4…hold…2…3…exhale…2…3…4…5…

Inhale…hold…breathe out…

Inhale…and out…

Keep breathing…letting your breath slow comfortably.

Can you feel yourself calming down? You’re learning the relaxation skill of slowing your breathing, which helps you to stay focused and alert, and relaxed.

Continue to breathe slowly, and every so often, be mindful of how you’re breathing, and focus on slowing your breathing down.

Now, onto your muscles. Notice you shoulders, hands and jaw. These are areas where your muscles may hold tension.

Lower your shoulders, and relax to allow the muscles to loosen. This will create a relaxed position instead of a tense position.

Allow your hand to open, free and relaxed. Resting your arms at their sides, release all your tension. Just relax. This is how to relax under pressure.
Next, think about your jaw. Your teeth should not be touching. Just let your jaw be loose and free.

Do you feel tension anywhere? Wherever you feel tense, focus on relaxing that area. Allow your muscles to release that tension. This is how to relax under pressure.

Back to breathing. Think about your breath, and count again if you like. Breathe in to the count of 4…holding for a count of 3…and breathing out to the count of 5.

(Pause)

Now, focus on your thoughts. Imagine each affirmation that follows, and believe each one to be true. You may want to repeat each phrase silently to yourself. This is how to relax under pressure:

I am calm.

I am relaxed.

I know how to relax easily.

I relax whenever I want to.

I handle situations with ease.

I am prepared.

I am focused.

I am strong.

I am confident.

I am so deeply relaxed.

I am so calm and serene.

I concentrate easily on the task at hand.

I easily relax under pressure.

I easily relax under pressure.

I feel calm and relax under pressure.

I am capable.

I am intelligent.

I am worthwhile.

I am skilled.

I am relaxed.

I am relaxed.

(Pause)

Every time you find yourself in a high pressure situation, think of the 3 relaxation techniques you just learned:

Breathe deeply.

Relax your muscles.

Calm your thoughts.

Relax any time you need to relax. This sense of serenity will help you to concentrate, and keep your brain functioning at its best.

The slightest feeling of nervousness will simply cause you to relax, and you can stay calm every day, in every situation.

Repeat these relaxation exercises as many times as you like to prepare for high pressure situations. When you relax, these situations can feel much less stressful.

Breathe deeply. Relax your muscles. Calm your thoughts.

(Pause)

Breathe deeply. Relax your muscles. Calm your thoughts.

(Pause)

Now it’s time to return to your day. Slowly reawaken your mind and body. You’re becoming alert and awake, and you’re also still relaxed and calm.

Open your eyes. Stretch. Sit quietly for a few moments as you wake up.

When you are ready, you can return to your daily life, feeling calm and energized.