Stress v's Pressure
Updated: Sep 17, 2020
We are all guilty at one time or another (or possibly more than we'd like to admit) of negative thinking. Whether that be negatively thinking about the past or even negatively forecasting the future. The problem with our negative thoughts is that these are often the reason we feel so stressed.
We all have pressures in our day to day lives, from the pressure of getting up when the alarm goes off, dropping children to school, getting to work on time, pressures of hitting the goals we have at work, getting the right train home or avoiding the rush-hour traffic, getting dinner on the table - the list goes on. These pressures can be positive and are what make us move and function each day.
Stress, however, is when we no longer feel in control of what we are doing. The feeling that what is being demanded of us is out of hand, we feel that we cannot cope. It effects your ability to think and perform and if left, can manifest and build and can cause serious problems to your general and mental health.
So, if we all have pressures in our lives but not all of us feel stress - what is it that causes the stress in some and not others?
A simple way to look at this is that it isn't the events in our lives that make us stressed, because if this were the case, we'd all be feeling overwhelmed simply getting to work, or feel like the simple act of getting the kids to school could push you over the edge. The reason we feel stressed is because of the thoughts that we personally associate with the events, how negatively we think about those events.
Being able to deal with the pressures that build up in the workplace without allowing them to turn in to stresses can be tough and a real skill to have and hone, so here are some techniques that you could use to help you handle work pressure more effectively… Keep Calm This can take some real effort to do, sometimes we want to blow up like a bottle of pop, but if you can master the art of keeping a calm demeanour it will give you the ability to take things more in your stride. Some lunchbreak meditations may help, search on the web for a 10-minute mindful meditation to see if that helps. If meditation isn’t your thing, maybe a walk, getting some fresh air, a call to someone who you know can help make you feel better… find your calming activity and roll with them daily to find that inner calm.
Keep Focused Writing a list of all you need to do can help keep yourself on task, if you struggle to keep focused this can be a great tool to break down your jobs. Break down what you need to achieve in to a ‘to do’ list. Breaking it in to manageable bite sized chunks that you can tick off each task as you complete it – maybe reward yourself in between each of them with a stretch or a quick chat with a colleague, so as to refresh yourself and get back to the next task without deliberation.
Keep positive Work should be challenging and rewarding, and as mentioned earlier, it’s generally our thoughts surrounding a situation that makes us feel so good or bad about it, so try to keep the focus on positive self-talk. Changing your thinking from “this will take me forever” to breaking it down to manageable chunks and telling yourself “I’m one step closer” each time you tick one of the tasks off your list. Also try to keep out of any ‘office drama’ if there is any, try not to get pulled into any moans or disagreements if you can help it.
Ask for help if you need it If there is something you aren’t sure of, or if there is something that you need some help on, don’t feel afraid to ask. Generally, if you get the right guidance you will get the job done well and that is the best outcome for all concerned.
Keep a good diet Try to avoid the junk food and caffeine if possible as tempting as it is when you are up against it. The old saying ‘you are what you eat’ is indeed true, if we eat good healthy food and keep well hydrated it has been shown to improve mood, energy levels and help you think more clearly.
Take breaks We can experience a burn out if we don’t allow our mind breaks to refuel and de-stress. We can often become guilty of eating our lunch at our desks or skipping breaks to get through our workload, but this behaviour is not conducive of good work practice and actually has a detrimental effect on our mood and overall performance. Whether it be a 5-minute walk to give a change of scenery from your desk or escaping the office for a lunch with colleagues – a break is essential to keep your mind in good shape.
If you practice using these techniques above, you will find that you begin to build your resilience and find yourself getting better at dealing with work pressures you encounter.
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