Life comes with pressure. We only have a limited time here in this body so, on a physical level, pressure is one of life’s defining characteristics.
Goals also create pressure. They are things we want to do and achieve in our life that are not currently part of our experience. This gap creates a pressure to take action. A healthy pressure that keeps us focused and moving forward towards achieving something we want.
Then there are the constant pressures we face of honouring our daily commitments to work, social and family activities.
Evidently, how we handle pressure has a big influence on how we experience life and if we don’t manage it effectively we can easily put ourselves into a spin.
Fortunately, the human body is a really cool pressure gauge. It calibrates all our commitments, goals, intentions, promises and produces a feeling in response.
Under too much pressure our body closes up, muscles tighten and our breath shortens. We feel constricted and in a less than resourceful state for operating at our best.
Listening to this somatic feedback from the body empowers us to take responsibility and look at how we can change our experience.
Releasing the pressure
- So the first step in releasing pressure is to recognize it. Notice when we are feeling constricted, have low energy or are seemingly on a treadmill.
- Find the source because what is actually creating pressure is not always what we think it is.
Is there external pressure? Where is it coming from? How are you processing this internally? How are you managing your time, energy and others expectations?
If life is beginning to spin, spending a few minutes to ask these questions can really help to pinpoint the source of pressure and take responsibility for anything we are doing to generate it.
Here are 4 common ways we create unnecessary pressure in our lives:
Stretching too far – setting goals that are too big induces pressure and can lead to frustration and procrastination. It’s important to set goals that are a stretch but don’t aim for an Oscar if it’s your first movie.
> chunk big goals down into manageable bites
Procrastination – needing or wanting to do something but doing nothing about it starts to build pressure.
> Start with the smallest baby-step (that means today 😉 ) and feel the pressure immediately begin to dissipate….
Imbalance – over-focus on one project also creates pressure from the other areas of your life that need attention or that energize you. That pressure will have you pushing to ‘get it done’ and make you stressed and unresourceful in the process.
> Make balance important – you are more likely to enjoy the process and be more creative and productive as a result.
Not saying ‘NO’ – leads to overwhelm with too much to do in too little time. Sometimes we do get hit by an avalanche of things that converge at the same time. But more often than not, overwhelm is caused by a lack of prioritization and weak boundaries.
> Commit to working in a sustainable way and be ruthless in holding the boundaries to protect that principle. Ask what can be delayed, delegated or dumped to release the pressure and stay centred.
Be in choice
How do you usually sabotage yourself when it comes to pressure?
Do you shoot for the stars but fail to break down goals? Say yes when you’re whole body says no? Get distracted instead of getting started?
Knowing your typical SPIN point is empowering – what choice will you make next time to stay out of stressed emotional states and in a more joyful state of doing?