5 Ways to Stay Cool Under Pressure
Real Simple asked five professionals with (unusually) stressful jobs to share their best secrets for keeping a level head.
Before a Stressful Event, Stage a Mental Dress Rehearsal
In surgery, you don’t have the luxury of wondering, What if this doesn’t work? It has to work. That’s why, the night before a big procedure, I run through the entire thing like a movie in my head. I
also visualize what I’ll do in the event of major complications—which can make a huge difference. During a recent operation,
my team encountered a problem when a hole opened in the vena cava, the largest vein in the body, during the removal of an
attached tumor. It’s a terrifying situation: The person could bleed to death in minutes. But I had considered this possibility
beforehand. So when the vein ruptured, I knew exactly what to do and quickly restored control. And I’m happy to report, the
patient is doing fine.
Thomas Heffernan is a cancer surgeon in Dallas.