Pressure can be GOOD. <——————> Stress is BAD for you.
Pressure pushes us towards doing stuff. That’s fine because we should do stuff. But if there is too much pressure, this can lead to stress. Stress is what happens when something is in the process of breaking.
Imagine a thin wooden stick. In your mind hold one end and apply pressure to the other end; the kind of pressure that would normally bend it.
- A small to moderate amount of pressure will cause the stick to flex, and a release of that pressure will allow it to move back to its original shape. The stick has had pressure applied to it, but has not been stressed.
- A more than moderate amount of pressure will bend the stick further and a release of that pressure may not result in the stick returning to the original state. The stick has been stressed by the pressure applied. Its structural integrity has been damaged.
- Extreme pressure will result in a cracking sound initially, then a splintering of the stick at some point along its length and then the stick may break. The pressure in this case has led to so much stress that the stick has been irrevocably damaged.
We receive constant pressure from our environment and from other people. Often it is because we are being impelled to do something. If we do the things we are being pushed towards, the pressure generally stops.
When we ignore, or do not notice the pressure, environmental factors usually (and people certainly) apply more pressure. The more we resist the urge to act, the more pressure is brought to bear. The result is ever-increasing stress. Eventually, we may (like the stick) snap.
It’s best not to snap.
The important thing is to listen to your body and your intuitions. Often we are given small warnings of big things.
- Vibrations in the earth allow birds and small animals to move clear of tsunamis
- Itchy spots on the skin when shown to a doctor may prevent skin cancer
- Incremental changes to a high cholesterol diet can reduce the risk of heart disease
- Listening to that small voice that tells you that there are better options than drugs and other destructive things can prevent untold misery and possibly even save your life
- Hearing the innocent voice of a friend as they say ‘I love you’ can sweep your heart clear of the destructive effects of many years of murk and pain.
Listen to those small messages. They might seem like pressures that you don’t want in your life, but listening to them may prevent you from experiencing stress. Who knows – they might just make a huge positive difference to your life.
Oh, and by the way – I love you, my friend.