Pressure: How do you handle it?

Everybody’s got it, but not everybody knows what to do with it. No, I’m not talking about that Christmas gift from your Aunt Laverne, I’m talking about pressure.

Every person knows what it’s like to be under pressure, to deal with stress, to feel the demands of a deadline or a to-do list that seems impossible. The question is, how do you deal with your pressure?

I think there are two ways to handle pressure. The first way is what happens to a volcano when the pressure builds for enough centuries: eruption. This happens all at once and it’s noticeable to everyone. Eruptions can be seen for miles. If we don’t deal with pressure, eventually we will blow up and likely cause a lot of damage. No one can stuff in their emotions forever. Eventually something has to give.

The alternative is to find ways to relieve pressure that are safe and effective. Think of an overflow drain in a sink, if the level gets too high, it’s there to let the water out. Often these come in small doses throughout the day and week. Finding small breaths in the middle of the chaos can help us stay sane and avoid a blowout.

Maybe the reason we don’t take advantage of these little breaths is that we don’t think they will work. Sometimes the pressure we feel is so great we think that a little break won’t even scratch the surface of what we need. But it’s like they say with exercise, “Something is better than nothing.” A 5-minute nap is better than no nap.

Or maybe we don’t take time to refresh because we don’t know what we need. We can get to going so fast that we don’t know ourselves well enough to know what will bring us a smile. Lately I have found great comfort in this process of finding out (again) what I like and putting those little habits into practice. Take a walk, see a movie, go for a drive. I have been surprised at how much better I feel when I intentionally do things that bring me joy.

Maybe you could take some time today to find an oasis in the middle of your desert.
I promise it will be worth the effort.

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