When you have an open wound the advise is always to apply pressure: not so much that it causes stress but enough to contain the situation. We tend to do this well when we have a cut or grazed knee, we naturally know how much pressure is too much.
So why do many of us find it so much more difficult to differentiate between pressure and stress in our lives?
49% of all workplace absence is due to Stress, Anxiety and Depression – CIPD 2018
We can conclude that stress is not good for us. On so many levels.
It sometimes feels like our ability to be able to differentiate between these two states (of stress and pressure) is the key to our productivity and well-being. It may well be.
Yet we find the two words are used interchangeably in conversation but they are very different in reality.
We can all agree that a certain amount of pressure is a good thing, I should clarify that my idea of pressure is a positive statement. It’s what is applied to bring about our best performance, so that could be having timelines to deliver to and other things we need to do – but all in an achievable way. Pressure is a motivator.
But step over that fine line and… moving from pressure to stress may be a fine line but the difference is that you now feel out of control. It feels as though no amount of hard work or focus is going to get you through the situation you’re facing.
You are in panic mode.
So, yes, learning the difference between pressure and stress may well be helpful but knowing what to do when you’re stressed could well save your sanity.
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