Pressure vs Stress

Pressure is the jerk who sitting at the back lighting your ass on fire and stress is the moron who cut the brakes.

Yes, we hear people say, “I’m so stressed, don’t talk to me now!” or “Dude there’s so much pressure, I think I’m going to die!” The words are most often used interchangeably and do not mean the same thing as there is indeed a difference between stress and pressure. In fact, stress and pressure need to be dealt with in different ways.

Which is it really?

Lemons Difference between stress and pressure -Shruti Suresh

Pressure is positive. If you have someone or something driving you towards a goal, that is pressure. Deadlines, targets, incentives, expectations, etc., encourage to break boundaries and do your best. Everyone needs pressure to perform well. You wouldn’t just tap lemons to make lemonade, would you? They need to be squeezed until that juice is rich in citric goodness and pulp.

Not all lemons are equal. If you ever apply more force than it can take, the bitterness of the seeds will seep into the juice. Similarly, when the pressure gets out of hand, you feel out of control. That negative feeling is stress. Anxiety becomes your unshakeable pal who follows you wherever you go. The feeling of dread crowds your thoughts limiting your productivity and interfering with both personal and professional life. Eventually, you crumble under its weight and burn out.

Pressure vs Stress, which is better?

Both are necessary and you are bound to face them at home, work, school, streets, or even at a retail store. For example, you go to the mall to buy new shoes because of peer pressure (fashion trends persuade you to get in style). At the store, the choices, uncertainty, and pressure to meet expectations leave you feeling stressed until you purchase, wear and validate.

You can only be free of stress if you handle pressure properly. Sometimes, stress is unavoidable, and at those moments, it is important to stay positive, fight the negative thoughts like “I can’t” “This is it” or “My life sucks” with “I can” “This too shall pass” “My life is longer than a day or a moment” “I am better than this incident” and more.

Thin line of difference between difference between stress and pressure at work

“He’s just come back from a ‘managing stress’ course…He learnt all sorts of strategies for dealing with pressure…maybe he could show us some of them if he ever wakes up.”

It gets very difficult to cope if pressure has a negative impact on you. Some people say, “I work better under pressure.” Well, that’s brilliant! But always remember that those deadlines if not achievable can easily put you under stress. It leads to insomnia, eating disorders, heart problems, headaches, obesity, hypertension and other such health risks.

The best managers set achievable goals that take some perseverance, hard work, risks, challenges, new learnings and change in attitude along the way. At the end of it, when you accomplish the goal, you feel pride and confidence.

So how do I do it?

The answer is always simple. Following it, however, might take a little dedication.

  1. Recognize your threshold for pressure
  2. Set achievable goals, and create a schedule to work on them
  3. Take action to cut down pressure when things begin to get out of control
  4. Manage your time efficiently
  5. Take breaks to relieve your mind
  6. Go on holidays
  7. Take up hobbies
  8. Power naps increase productivity
  9. Work smart, not hard
  10. These things you do are a part of your life