It’s to be expected that working at 300 feet in the air might have its stressful moments. Ask any wind turbine technician and they will tell you; there can be an intense mental and technical element to the job. Just like any occasionally stressful career or life situation, you will be able to perform better under pressure if you are well prepared and purposefully train your mind and body for such situations. Wind turbine technicians troubleshoot technical and mechanical problems while using physical strength, high in the air or confined in small spaces. Sometimes the job requires them to have to make quick decisions especially if there is any kind of safety issue. Technicians also have teammates who rely on each other for safety and back up. We have discussed the physical training in part one. Here in part two we will focus on how to use every day situations to mentally practice and prepare for occasions in life/work that require calm, focused, and quick decision making. Various studies (referenced below) found that elite athletes and branches of the United States Military use the following practices to mitigate panic and create a better psychological reaction for important and quick decision making during highly stressful situations.
Mental Training for Stressful Situations –
You don’t have to get as intense as an athlete or soldier with your training, but practicing the basic awareness of controlling your mind during every day situations that may be irritating or stressful to you will help you cope with an intense situation better. The point is to challenge yourself and practice whenever you can.
Training in hot and cold temperatures:
- control your muscles (body), control your thoughts (mind), control your breathing (breath).
- work out in them and/or just be in them and practice controlling: body-mind-breath.
You can also do the same type of training when you’re in other situations like swimming, splashing, noisy events, chaos, sleep deprivation, or any other stressful or irritating event (see an example of military water confidence training on Pg. 18 of this RAND report).
- This helps control your thoughts by concentrating on your breathing or focusing on relaxing parts of your body intentionally. It helps your mind practice control and focus.
- This helps by expressing gratitude, desires for what you want, and intentions for your day and life.
- Basically any controlled variation of breathing in and out. Mouth open, closed, in and out through one nostril or both or the mouth. You pick. Just maintain a controlled breathing pattern.
This RAND report summarizes studies and practices that the military uses to prepare soldiers for stressful situations. Here is a list of what they train soldiers on to maximize mental readiness. You can find it on page 26 of the report.
A summarization of Table 3.2:
Mental skills foundation:
- Understanding the relationship between performance and
psychological states (e.g., thoughts, emotions)
- Focus on strategies to build, sustain, and protect confidence; a
feeling of self-assurance
- Focus on personally meaningful goals supported by core
values; breaking larger objectives into manageable tasks
- Emphasis on understanding how attention works and how to
control it to enhance focus and concentration
Energy/(stress) arousal control:
- Practical skills on managing (stress) arousal levels and the stress
response to meet the demands of the situation and restoring
- Mental rehearsal of successful outcomes to build confidence
and promote effectiveness
- Internal dialogue to guide thoughts, emotions, performance,
- Dividing or segmenting adverse events or setbacks for later
You can further research articles, professionals, social media or videos on topics that interest you. Do not be overwhelmed. Practice these skills a little at a time. Keep reviewing them over your life. These habits will not only help you with your job but in many real life situations. To research more training skills for the physical body refer to part one of this series.