We’ve talked about coping with stress on a bad day, but what about pressure? Though we frequently use the two interchangeably, they’re not exactly one and the same.
Pressure stems from emotions…feeling fearful and uneasy because you believe you’re expected to achieve a certain result that directly impacts something or someone you care deeply about.
We feel pressure from ourselves, which is the root of us being extra hard on ourselves in order to attain certain goals. We also feel it from our parents and family as we have an innate desire to make them proud and from our peers – the expectation to keep up with what everyone else is doing. Although “keeping up with the Joneses” is never intentional, we can’t help but feel obligated to pace ourselves against the like-minded be it through education, consumerism, or whatever other measures prevail. And often times the pressure builds up too much and forces us onto one of three paths:
1. A breaking point where we either give up and sulk on like a complete failure, or
2. Persevere – fight the pressure (plus the stress) and propel forward, or
3. Let it go, own our mistakes, and rebuild from scratch.
Which path are you on? Hopefully #2 or #3 although it could very well be #1. Wherever you’re headed, here’s to handling pressure like a boss.
Drown out the noise when confronting the issues you’re facing today – you might be a grad/post-grad student miserable in your studies (and even reconsidering), a new graduate who can’t find a job or working one you despise, or a single 30-something expected to be married – whatever you are, strip away the excess. There are only 2 questions you really need to be asking yourself:
1. What do you want for yourself?
2. What do you need to do to get there?
Don’t worry or think about what your parents, friends, and family want or expect of you! We all know that’s just a disastrous path to unhappiness.
Instead, look at the demands of your situation and see how they compare to your personal goals and resources, which can be ever-changing. If all three still align, you’re in good shape to press on. Lighten up the pressure by visualizing a premier outcome (not the stress and everything in between) and then pour all your energy into performing your absolute best and focusing on the task at hand. Conversely, if your status quo, goals, and resources no longer align, it’s a major cue to let go and move on. The biggest dilemma we face daily is continuing something even when it’s time to stop. And the pressure we feel here is from failing – missing our shot to do something right – something we think we can control. However, what you should be doing is redirecting your energy to what you want for yourself and how you plan on getting there.
Giving up on something everyone knows you’ve been working towards hits your pride and ego hard, but working on something that no longer fuels your soul is even worse. It’s time to accept where you are, face the biggest factors making you feel like shit (could be a person or maybe yourself), move past the negative emotions, and restart fresh.
In the end, it comes down to how you measure your current situation against your worth – you can’t let it define you.