We all face pressure every day – pressure coming from self, family, peers, colleagues and society in general. At different stages of life, we have to attain targets and meet deadlines either self-imposed or imposed on us.
Be the top in class! Achieve distinctions in public examinations! Embark on an enviable career! Get married by twenty-five! Own a property by thirty! The list is endless! So is pressure!
People handle pressure differently. Some yell out all the time that they are under pressure. Some endure quietly. When up to the neck, they explode like a volcano wreaking havoc on themselves and others. And of course, there are those who take life easy and refuse to succumb to any demands. They claim that their life is pressure-free!
To think of it, I am actually quite experienced in managing pressure. I was at school before free education. I had to study hard and be among the top three to enjoy scholarship so that I could continue my schooling. At that time, my only relief from pressure was writing. I created stories to nurture my fantasy and have myself lifted from the gruelling reality.
In my decades of teaching career and life as a working mother, I have faced really exhausting challenges. I have tried various relief measures. Some work. Some don’t.
Here is a summary of “what works” – the 4R Approach:
1.Recycle experiences to look for inspiration
There is a Chinese saying which goes “Remember the past for future reference.” Be reflective.
2.Reduce expectations to enjoy successes
We should have clear knowledge of ourselves. Do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis and set reasonable targets for ourselves. Don’t be too ambitious. Don’t always say “yes” to demands. Take the “plus-1” not “plus-10” approach. Then there will be more frequent opportunities to celebrate successes to fuel future endeavours.
3. Reuse happiness to recharge
Don’t think that we are adults and we don’t need incentives. After a big project or a long week, think of something to do to make ourselves happy. We well know what makes us laugh and so do it to make sure we laugh!
4.Replace depression with three cheers
People are depressed because they allow themselves to indulge in self-pity. It is important to divorce oneself from such environment. Get up! Leave the desk! Run out of the house and shout three cheers!