We all face pressure in our lives, both professional and personal. Stress occurs when we react negatively to pressure, and when we place too much importance on the goal and less on the journey. In this piece, we show you how to deal with stress when under pressure.
In material science, stress is defined as pressure divided by resilience. All three are scientific terms, and for the sake of this article, we do not need to go into their actual definitions, but we can use the same formula to deal with stress in our real lives.
Pressure can be thought of as all the external factors that affect us while we embark upon our journeys to achieve something. Say I have a deadline to finish a work-related task by tomorrow morning. Between me and my goal, there are a lot of external factors that act as impediments to my journey. These can be family commitments, health issues, or other unforeseen events that will become hurdles.
Resilience, on the other hand, is our internal behaviour that defines how we react to the pressure that is put upon us. Some people react positively to pressure, and will visualise themselves at the finishing point throughout their journey. They will react to all pressure points with calmness, and they will proceed with confidence that they will finish the job.
There are some others that react to pressure with anxiety. What drives them is the fear that they will not finish the job. The consequences of failure weigh so heavily on their minds that they find it impossible to function without anxiety. By the end, even these people finish the work allotted to them, but they’re mentally fatigued by the time they reach their goals. Whereas the first person is energised by his journey, the second person is exhausted, and relieved that he has finished the job.
So the next time when you feel like you’re under pressure and experiencing anxiety, perform the following steps:
1. Ask yourself what the consequence of failure would be. It is likely that in your mind, you’re overestimating the bad effects of failure. Tell yourself that none of the important stuff will change irrespective of your failure. This is often true.
2. Make a plan of how you want to finish the job. Write down all the activities you need to perform, with a time estimate on how long each activity will take. Allow for distractions and unforeseen activities.
3. Stick to your plan, and when things don’t happen as expected, stay calm and tell yourself that all is well.