That heavy feeling in your chest…
That uncertainty that causes bile to rise in your throat…
That's a sign the pressure is getting worse…
We're here to offer you easy-to-understand and implement tips on how to handle pressure. Firstly you must know there are two kinds of pressure that we usually fall prey to - Internal and External pressure.
Internal pressure has to do with all that mental stress we tend to put on ourselves; worry, doubt, or even pushing ourselves too hard, while external pressure comes from circumstances, they are the things that cause us to become stressed; overbearing bosses and hefty workloads.
There was an idea that increasing the amount of pressure put on individuals causes them to perform better until they reach the optimum point, This dates back to 1908 but Psychologists Robert Yerkes and John Dodson found that, when pressure exceeds this maximum point, it has the opposite effect and performance starts to suffer. This still holds till today.
Dissatisfaction and a deterioration in the quality of work put out are only the starts of the negative impact of too much pressure placed on a person, Stress, anxiety, unhappiness and eventually Burnout come after. Worse still, one could become physically ill or develop psychological and emotional issues such as depression, or behavioural problems like aggressiveness.
In the end, pressure will always be a part of our life. Only a small part of life is dictated by what happens to us, and a larger part is dictated by how we handle what happens to us, this also applies to pressure, it is inevitable, so its impact is dictated by our reaction.
Here are 5 healthy and productive ways to handle pressure;
1. Prioritize - When confronted with a major source of pressure (It could be a personal issue or a work project), instead of thinking about the entire situation and getting seriously overwhelmed, immediately start breaking things down into smaller bits and determine what needs to be done right now and what can wait. Breaking down larger situations into smaller tasks will make an overwhelming situation feasible.
2. Build Healthy Responses To Stress - When we are stressed it is easy to fall into bad habits; eating and drinking unhealthy things, dosing up on caffeine, not sleeping, and generally not taking care of ourselves at all. It is easy to rationalise the bad habits when you are stressed but taking care of yourself while under pressure gives you more energy and helps you focus. Some good habits you can cultivate include but are not limited to: getting more physical activity (exercise), eating nutrient-filled diets, minimising phone use and screen time, practising self-care, reducing caffeine intake, spending time with friends and family, spending time in nature and spending time with pets.
3. Set Boundaries - If you are under pressure because people are giving you a hefty workload or are asking too much of you personally, it is time for you to take a step back and create boundaries. With our laptops and phones, many of us feel on-call-24/7, maybe it’s time to leave that email unread and put your phone in another room. If you haven’t been able to meet family expectations because of your work, tell them you’ll come over after you meet your project deadline. Do the same for your friends, it lets people know you thought of them even while giving yourself space and time to work.
4. Take Time To Recharge - No one is always at the top of their game, when you feel worn down take some time off to relax and recharge from life’s stressful and chaotic moments, whether it’s simply sleeping in, getting some fresh air or going on a vacation.
5. Seek Help - If work and life, in general, feels like too much to handle, you should reach out for help. Distribute some tasks to colleagues or subordinates and inform your boss that you’ve reached a breaking point. If you have the means you can call a therapist to help you work through any personal issues you may have. Spend time with supportive family and friends, you don’t have to do it all on your own, you can ask for help.
We genuinely hope that the above will be of great help to you in handling pressure and taking better care of yourself!