Pressure can be both positive and negative. Some people love pressure, they thrive under it whilst others cope very badly and it can lead to lots of stress and anxiety. I find I respond best when there is some pressure on the outcome or when I have an approaching deadline. I find it hard to focus otherwise. Despite the best of intentions to do it earlier, every single week, I still put together the articles for my Sunday newsletter on Saturday. I am not disorganised, I know what I am going to write and I still have it done in plenty of time to go out, but I need that approaching deadline to sit down and take the time to finally write it. That kind of pressure is obviously very small and it is small pressures like this I enjoy. However, being under bigger pressures daily can move the barometer from motivating me to work to stressing me out. I find the pressure at the moment is slightly more on the stressful side as I am spinning a number of plates, but I have found a few ways to deal with it.
The biggest mistake I used to make when I felt under too much pressure was just absolute avoidance. I tried not to think about anything that I had to do and avoided tackling any tasks. This might sound like a strange way to behave, but denial and avoidance are incredibly common when anyone is under too much pressure. It is a way of coping. The problem is that when I am overwhelmed I have absolutely no idea where to start or what to tackle first so I do nothing. Unsurprisingly, this does not help. The pressure only builds and builds. So now I have decided that no matter how small the task I am going to take action and get something done. The only way to combat this pressure is through action. With every completed task, again no matter how small, some of the pressure eases.
I also try not to think of every single thing that I need to do at once. I talked about this a little last week in trying not to go from 0-100 with the number of tasks I was trying to take on and the principle is the same here. If I started every day thinking about everything that I wanted to complete the enormity of it would stress me out. Instead, I just think about what tasks I need to complete in the morning and then continue to break up tasks into different times of day. All of a sudden the day seems much more manageable.
There are, however, pressures that are completely out of our control. Some pressures at work, family life or even financial worries are hard to break down and tackle in this way. They may just exist and we have to learn to live with them or manage them for a certain period of time. In this instance it is all about finding a release as pressure and stress are basically the same at this point. Finding that release is absolutely crucial. Exercising, listening to music and meditating are just some of the ways you can release that stress. Recently exercise has become even more important to me for this reason, plus I love nothing more than turning the tunes up full blast during a training session just to get the blood flowing even more. This release is so important to stop the pressure reaching boiling point!
As I said I do enjoy a bit of pressure as I find it motivates me, but occasionally, if it gets too much I can feel overwhelmed and stressed. In this period of my life I do find the pressure can build as I am still probably trying to do too much, so to combat this any pressure that is self inflicted by avoidance is now being tackled head on, completing just one task at a time and if there is nothing I can do to ease it I simply make sure I find some ways to stay calm and less stressed.
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