Wednesday, Dec 10 | 11:45 AM

Pressure vs. Stress

We all need pressure in order to thrive and most importantly we cannot avoid it; whether it is caused due to scaling your business, having little cash flow, or getting an unexpected wave of new clients, everything causes pressure. However, we must learn to see pressure as a positive, we need it otherwise we would just walk around in a blob-like state not engaging in anything. Even in nature we see pressure as a driving force, a plant cannot exist if the roots do not create pressure to push upwards and lead the plant into the sun.

Pressure also proves positive in engineering, take a car, it is the pressure of ‘mini-explosion’ in the engine, which gives the car the ability to turn on and go. Pressure in your business is also needed it  forces innovation to find better solutions or create a better route to market. At the moment we all feeling the pressure of the economic changes and even though it is having negative consequences it is also giving existing  businesses a reason to analyze their weakness, it is moving graduates into enterprise, and its making the government look inward for solutions.

These pressures will create better businesses, younger entrepreneurs, and will lead us to a new path of innovation and economic independence. Outcomes that in the ‘good-times’ would not have come about, because there was little pressure to create change.

So why do we spend so much time trying to avoid it? We have created a negative association between pressure and stress. Stress releases epinephrine, commonly known adrenaline, which then sets off a chain of reactions in our body to engage our flight or fight reflexes. In doing so, our cognitive reasoning is almost turned off as the body thinks it needs action not thinking. If we were hunting buffalo, the adrenaline would be incredibly useful, however in business it gets in the way of thinking. Stress of also causes other problems such as heart disease, insomnia, headaches, and so on.

Avoiding Stress

1. Set a realistic time-line and focus on big results rather than a long ‘to-do’ list

2. Exercise and drink a lot of fluids to release toxins, which can trigger stress.

3. Stay reactive and don’t get agitated planning and figuring out the future, we cannot control it.

4. Focus on solutions as we can control them rather than problems, which we have little control over

5.  Breath from your lower belly as breathing from your chest begins to set mechanisms for agitation and panic. One easy trick is to put a pen in your mouth it unclenched the jaw and forces you to breath deeply, instantly relaxing you.

6. Relish pressure, once you invite it and see it as a positive, it doesn’t cause stress, but productivity and innovation.