There´s a huge problem I see every day, some of us confuse pressure with stress, with get anxious, start panicking and everything goes wrong but there´s a big difference between pressure and stress.
Stress is when we are in a situation where we don´t have enough resources to meet the outcome, we may not have enough time, money, etc and when we don´t have control of the situation the end results won´t depend completely of us.
There are so many situations that can cause us stress in a day to day basis like getting stuck in traffic, being late to a meeting, a long list of emails that we need to answer. If we feel overwhelmed and we know that we don´t have total control of a situation that´s stress.
Pressure is when we have control of the situation and the end results depends of us, of our performance, how productive, effective and efficient we are with what we have.
Pressure is that feeling when we only got one shot at any project, that we have a deadline and we have to deliver the best results possible. We are challenged to meet demands.
The reason why it is important to identify both of them is to be able to act the best way possible for each situation, we need to identify if we are in a stressful situation or if we are dealing with pressure. If we are dealing with stress the best we can do is first ask ourselves how important is that situation for us, many of us pay too much attention to what others say and think of us, we spend too much time with negative people and this create stress and we don´t need it. Sometimes we make a big deal of meaningful situations and what´s impacting us is the way we react. What we can do here is breathe, take some deep breathes and feel our body calming down.
Then ask if there´s something we can do, in many cases there´s nothing we can do so we need to change our focus, do something different and work in other stuff and just move on.
When we´re under pressure this means there´s something we need to do whether it´s making a decision or finish a project in a short period of time we need to find the best options and solutions with what we´ve got. Sometimes we don´t have the best resources of time, energy, money, knowledge but our result can impact our job or our life so we need to make the best, we need great performance, effectiveness and efficiency.
We know that stress can have a negative impact on our life and health while pressure can have a positive impact. For some of us pressure helps us stay focus and bring the best of us, taking it as a challenge to learn new skills, to improve, to get stronger is a way to get the best results while for others it can be overwhelming and can have very negative effects feeling as the highest level of stress.
Pressure can lead to anxiety, knowing that an outcome or end results depends of us and not knowing if we are going to be able to deliver on time at the level expected and how is our end result going to be taken creates fear specially if we need to learn new skills.
There are ways and tools we can use to know how to cope with each of them but as always it takes time, the best we can do now is try to avoid negative situations, negative people and negative environments, if we need to work under pressure belief that you can do it, you got everything you need to deliver a great result and even if you don´t know certain skills you can learn them and apply what you learn in your project.
Stress and pressure are different so we need to react differently to them, stress can have a really negative impact on our body and health while pressure can have a positive impact, stress can lead to bad relationships and bad results when working on a project while pressure can help us meet expectations and get our best results.
One simple question you can ask yourself to know how to respond or what you need to do is:
Do I have control over this? is there something I can do? if the answer is yes think about what you can do to get the best result, or what can you do to improve the situation, if the answer is no then let go off trying to manage or control the outcome. Do not stress with something that is out of your hands.
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