You often hear friends complaining about how stressed they are with their current jobs because their boss is pressuring them. A common mistake is that people combine the feeling of STRESS and PRESSURE. Their go-to mental equation is “Because I’m pressured, therefore I am stressed.” and vice-versa, which is not a very reliable equation. Whenever you see yourself in the same situation, remember that failing to differentiate these two feelings can be catastrophic.
Defining Stress and Pressure
Stress refers to a situation with too many demands and insufficient time, money, or energy to meet a target. It is a feeling that reeks of negativity and often clouds a person’s reasonable judgment.
Pressure, on the other hand is a situation which you perceive that something at stake is dependent on the outcome of your performance. The problem would often seem to be complicated. However, as you overcome pressure, you open a new realm of possibilities. You level up your wisdom; you level up in life.
Let me give you an example. Put yourself in the shoes of a person whose task is to rescue hostages from ruthless rebels. Now picture yourself being able to reach the hostages, moving towards the planned extraction point. However, you were spotted, and the bad guys blocked the path you were about to take.
This will place you under tremendous pressure; lives depend on you. My question is, should you feel stressed in this situation? Here are some choices:
Choice # 1: Succumb to stress and let it cloud your judgment when thinking about what actions to take.
Choice # 2: Think of a way to overcome pressure carefully and hastily analyze your best approach.
When we use these example choices, most of you will pick choice # 2, which sounds smarter than the latter. To put it simply, it has a higher probability of success.
The key to identifying what you are feeling is to ask yourself:
“Am I overwhelmed by the demands upon me, or do I feel I need to produce a specific result.”
- If you are overwhelmed, you are stressed.
- If you have to produce a result, you are pressured.
Whenever you feel both, don’t multi-task. You have to solve them one at a time, starting with cleansing the negative.
7 Things You Can Try
When under stress..
Stress involves the feeling of negativity; it can be battled by relaxing our muscles or taking a breather. Also, some suggestions are below.
- Simplify: If you feel you are not in control of anything, you need to simplify! Make small lists of what you need to do. The only way to finish eating a whole cake by yourself is with one bite at a time.
- Exercise: Focus on your body and relieve yourself from any negative thoughts. Something as basic as walking or jogging for half an hour can improve your mood.
- Take a Break: Stop what you are doing, find a quiet spot, listen to music, read a book, and draw. You need to relax.
- Write it down: Writing is one of the best ways to release tension; negativity is trapped inside your brain; release it in the form of words. Write about what’s happening, but always remember to write about what you are looking forward to at the end of each entry.
- Talk to a friend: Talking to someone about your experience is the oldest form of therapy. Just make sure your friend is open to hearing what you are about to say.
- Meditation and Prayer: Clearing your mind with quietness and faith is empowering.
- Sleep: Not enough sleep can make you irritable and nervous; put this on your priority list next to eating healthy.
When under pressure..
Performing under pressure often involves extensive mind conditioning. As opposed to dealing with stress, coping with pressure would require you to grasp the current situation and make the most out of it.
- Think of it as a challenge rather than a problem.
- Remind yourself that this is only one of the many opportunities to better yourself.
- Focus on the task and not the outcome.
- Take control and get in touch with your senses.
- Flash back to your past successes and ignite your confidence.
- Be positive before and during high-pressure moments.
- Learn to slow down when it matters the most. Quick thinking isn’t always effective. We understand that in high pressure, we need to act fast. However, we should consider when it is time to slow down and analyze the situation.
Move your mind away from stress & use pressure to fuel your drive.
Doing the best you can under pressure is critical. However, remember that the results might not always be in your favor. You will experience failure one way or another. If you survive the difficulties of pressure and learn how to fend off stress, that experience would be priceless!
“You never lose, you either win or learn” – Nelson Mandela