1. Pansy Uberoi, 28, military surgical resident, San Antonio, Texas
Uberoi wakes up at 4 a.m. to spend 13 hours in a U.S Army medical center, treating wounded soldiers home from overseas as well as veterans and their families. In the operating room, she answers to a rotating flow of doctors. "One day the 'boss' is someone intimidating…another day, someone who teaches you nicely—you never know," says Uberoi. "It can seriously tax my nerves and confidence." As part of the Air Force, Uberoi also has to stay on top of military protocol and maintain a strict fitness regimen.
How she stays cool: You want reminders that you control how you deal with your surroundings, they don't control you," says Uberoi. To cut down on the uncertainty, she lives as close to work as she can. She also treats herself to new restaurants and splurges on exercise classes.
2. Lexi Thompson, 20, professional golfer, Coral Springs, Florida
At age 12, Thompson became the youngest golfer to play in the U.S. Women's Open. Now, she's the no. 11 ranked woman golfer in the world and travels weeks at a time to perform on live TV against older, more experienced competitors. While golf may seem like the antithesis of stress, Thompson says high expectations mean high pressure. (While playing, she overhears comments like, "If she wins, she makes history" whispered when she's lining up shots.) "Golf is an in-your-head sport," she says. "Adrenaline helps you in some sports and jobs. For golf, it makes it harder. You have to keep calm."
How she stays cool: "Slow it down," says Thompson, who listens to soft music before approaching the first tee on the course. "The way you walk, the way you breathe—slowing down helps you stay in the moment." And go into everything wanting to win but not needing to win. "Even doing something you love, you can get caught in the wrong mind-set," she says. "Play from within yourself and for yourself. It turns struggles into lessons and makes the win that much sweeter."
3. Sam Feldmann, 27, labor and delivery nurse, Baltimore
Working in Johns Hopkins Hospital's high-risk labor and delivery unit, Feldmann helps women with fragile pregnancies. "We have patients who could die at any second, and each case involves two people instead of one," says Feldmann. She'll grow close to someone, only to see her have an emergency C-section or hysterectomy…and sometimes not make it. "I'm constantly moving, which is debilitating, she says, "but the emotional stress of seeing so much tragedy is worse."
How she stays cool: Rebounding during an emergency has to be fast. "I take one minute to give myself a pep talk, like I know what I'm doing, I've done this before," says Feldmann. "Then I break down my role going forward step-by-step to keep from freezing up."
4. Courtney Fallon, 28, sports reporter, Miami
As a news anchor and sideline reporter for CBS Sports, Fallon has to be "mentally and physically prepared at all times," she says. "If a story breaks, I go at a moment's notice." Fallon says she feels extra pressure to know her stuff. "In sports, women are rarely taken seriously by peers. You make a mistake and it's magnified. All of a sudden, I'm not qualified."
How she stays cool: On the sidelines, there's no prompter—it's just you and your real-time reactions. "My mind works faster than my mouth, so I focus on my breathing," says Fallon, who practices the 4-7-8 method (inhale for four seconds, hold for seven, exhale for eight). If she screws up, "as soon as I get off-air, I'll read a book or FaceTime with a friend to regroup." Following a crappy moment with a pleasant one reminds you that everything is just a moment.
5. Lindsey King Summerlin, 29, creative director, Los Angeles
As associate creative director at Deutsch Inc., Summerlin has to come up with ideas that move the needle for big companies with big budgets, including ad campaigns for Nintendo and Target. "The industry is naturally competitive," says Summerlin, who pitches ideas to clients constantly by phone and is used to super-late nights and wee-hour mornings before in-person presentations. "You have to be smart and culturally in the know or someone else will outthink you."
How she stays cool: Let it burn. If something goes south, "first, I complain—to my husband, my coworkers, even myself," says Summerlin, who recalls writing 60 scripts for a single commercial for a picky client. "Once I get the frustration out, I remember that what I'm doing is supposed to be fun. I'll watch a commercial I love that makes me laugh. Fun goes hand-in-hand with coming up with a good creative idea—stressing out means no fun and no good idea."
This article was originally published as "Turn Off the Stress" in the June 2015 issue of Cosmopolitan. Click here to get the issue in the iTunes store!
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.