How Do You Respond to Pressure? 


Caption: My Lush Bath Products… A nice hot bubble bath with lush goodies is one way I respond to pressure! 

While we are adulting, at some point in our lives, we will experience pressure. The pressure can be either personal or professional.

Here are the different ways we can respond to pressure:

(1) With Anger – Responding to pressure with anger can be either helpful or dangerous. There is the type of anger that we feel when we respond to the pressure of injustice, that keeps our adrenaline pumping and gives us the fuel that we need to keep fighting, or that is that dangerous, warning toxic-gas anger that causes us to lash out against the people we love the most. I usually don’t respond to pressure with anger because it takes a lot for me to get angry and it takes even more for me to showcase my anger. Not really sure what to make of that. 

(2) With Resentment – Resentment is much different than anger but it’s on the same continuum. Resentment is like slow release anger. Resentment is often what we feel, when we feel trapped or backed into a corner. Resentment can also result in passive aggression. Resentment is like a hardened cast, once it solidifies it can be hard to break through, without some hard force. 

(3) Withdrawal – Sometimes when we feel pressure, we just throw up our hands and retreat. We stop trying, we give up the fight, we walk away. Depending on what’s causing the pressure, resentment may be the best option. 

(4) Procrastination – Proscrination is a rebellious response to pressure. It’s basically like we know what needs to be done, we just do it on our own timeline. This isn’t so bad when a project or decision is solely based on us, as long as we handle said action by the deadline.

(5) With Resolve – Some folks welcome pressure or “thrive” under pressure. They see it as a challenge and they enjoy the feeling of accomplishment they get when they complete a task or make a decision that ends the pressure.

(6) Food. I am definitely an emotional eater. When I feel pressure I usually crave soda pop, which is the absolute worse. I’m trying to rewire myself but I believe that this practice really started when I was in college. I remember feeling the pressure of academics and walking myself to the local bakery to have a homemade “treat.” Emotionally I felt better but I also felt a sense of stress and guilt for responding to stress with food. Any tips on how to break that habit are much appreciated! It’s still a struggle for me… 

There are people who respond to pressure in more healthier ways:

(6) With Exercise – I wish that I consistently had the urge to break down into push-ups or to break into a run when I felt pressure. I’d be a whole lot thinner with a much higher metabolism if that was the case.

(7) With therapy. Either formal or informal. Sometimes the best way to handle pressure is to have a conversation with someone about it. A therapist doesn’t have the subjectivity that close friends/family have and they are trained to address emotional stress or crises. A good conversation with a trusted friend is like a glass of cold water (or chilled wine if that’s your thing).

(8) With faith – through prayer or attending a church or reading the bible. This is one way that I often respond to pressure and it makes me feel better and “lighter.” 

(9) With some self care. Keep a list of all of the things that make you feel good and draw from that list. My list includes time at the spa, retail therapy, a mental health day (a day where I don’t leave my house and stay in my pajamas, not doing anything planned or anything that stresses me out).

What are the negative and positive ways that you respond to pressure? What works for you? 

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