Is It Just My Imagination Running Away With Me?

Are you battling with inner struggles, thoughts, and emotions? Over time, if you don’t deal with those struggles, thoughts, and emotions. You’ll become trapped in them. You will always feel like there is a dark cloud hanging over your head, or could it just be your imagination running away with you?

And now, amid this Coronavirus, it has truly made matters worse. Just looking at the daily news updates from the different governors across the nation has been even more depressing. It appears this pandemic is never going to end.

Another doctor mentioned today that it could be another round of this virus this upcoming fall season.

“Hexs-naw!”

The stress and the pressure is on for sure now.

Each day, I have listened to our Arkansas governor giving updates regarding the Covid-19, and how our city is recovering. However, I still trying to work through the data.

One particular day, I decided to tune in to listen to other governors’ across the nation giving updates regarding their state’s process. One governor, really caught my attention, as he spoke about his grandmother. He stated she was a little old lady and quite tough about her beliefs. He applauded her for making it through the depression and she was an early immigrate to the United States, so she worked hard all of her life. 

In his words, she was a little “rough-hume.”

His grandmother helped him learn a certain concept about people. Being a young man in high school, one day he told his Grandma, he had met a nice girl and guy. His grandmother said, “Nice! How do you know that they are nice? It’s easy to be nice when everything is nice.” 

He was confused by his grandmother’s statement. She told him. “It’s easy to be nice when things are nice. But, wait until things get hard, that’s when you’ll know if people are nice or not.” People that are put under pressure, change. You will question whether that person really is nice.

Comparatively, as he grew older. His grandmother’s point became crystal clear–It’s easy to be nice, kind and affable when everything is easy. You really get the opportunity to find whether people are nice when they have to make decisions under pressure.

And, when the pressure is on. There weaknesses or strengths will just show up. Being under pressure is something people learn to handle. Honestly, it goes along with a lot of practice. Some people fit perfectly in the midst of pressure and have learned how to process the pressure, while others place their true colors on display. 

Boy! What a wise grandmother. Wouldn’t you say?

Nonetheless, as the governor closed his briefing, he stated, “I’ve had more deaths than any other state since the spread of this virus. The pressure of this virus and the death toll has overwhelmed me.” 

“This whole ordeal has been really hard for him. Not only–but, it has given me the opportunity to see if people are really nice. In particular, through the relationships, I have built and maintained over this critical period. But, also, through watching how others have handled the pressure during the spread of this virus.

Finally, the governor reflects over past years he’s been in office. He remembers several former presidents’ talking about a global pandemic, and the need for America to prepare for one. For him, he just couldn’t grasp what that would like in his era. 

In spite of being ill-prepared, we’re here. This pandemic. America is not prepared for it. But, in the midst of this chaos globally, I’m confident the American people will get through it. We are coming through this horrific experience. We should take the time to look at our growth and reflect on our next steps.

If we’re smart, and we use the time to ask ourselves questions. There are real lessons we should be learning. We came through 911, and we’re smarter. We went through WWII, and we have become better. We’ve gone through Super Storm Sandy, and we’ve grown through that.  

And, as governor, I know America will come through this too.

Comparatively, I’m reminded of the governor’s statements. “When the pressure is on, the true colors and character of a person really come out. You may know people to be nice. But, pressure gives you a snapshot of what they are made of. 

And, when it’s revealed. You’ll probably be taken aback by their behavior.

To be honest, when the pressure was on, my confidants, some of the people I thought could tough-it-out, simply broke my heart. I thought they could rise to the occasion or could be strong. 

Nope! They just crumbled. 

On the other hand, the people I thought couldn’t rise to the occasion. Stood strong with me and remained encouraged to the end. And, they did it with a lot of character, grit and remained positive in the chaos. Today, I have so much respect for them.

lady imaging looking up

You see–even the best of us struggle with stress and pressure. We have to be careful about how we handle both because we can’t afford for others to see the worst of humanity, come to the surface. 

Stress and pressure elevate everything.

But, unfortunately, pressure creates a real image of self. 

If…

God changes caterpillars into butterflies, sand into pearls and coal into diamonds using time and pressure. He’s working on you, too.” Rick Warren

Don’t fret. You are not exempt. Consequently, the pressure of life affects everyone.

Take the time to perform at your greatest when you’re under pressure. You’ve been taught how to perform at your best — work, school, family, relationships, and so on. No of us aimed to fail.

Make use of it. You will always have external expectations as moving targets — they’ll make you anxious and desperate; it’s your choice how you deal with each of those moving targets. 

The way you handle them determines your reactions. 

Researchers believe that no one can perform under pressure. Untruth! When we look at the lives of individuals in our books “who have made it,” we know they didn’t get there in a haphazard or spontaneous manner or “willy-nilly.” I’m sure each person was methodical and systemic about their daily activities.

Not everyone is battle-ready. Are you?

Performing under pressure is not always, idea. Of course, we’re humans. We hate it. But, it’s inevitable, especially if you have goals and plans you’re aspiring to obtain. 

None of us can avoid pressure. Whether it’s the happiest moments of our lives or we’ve just received the worst news. Whichever, one, we’ll have to produce desirable results. No one aims to create negative results in any situation. At least, I would hope not. 

So, go hard. It’s apart of life. The problem comes when we don’t know how to manage the stress and work through the pressure. A key component is not allowing the stress and the pressure to change you. Release the energy before it’s too late.

I’ve included ways for you to deal with both. Remember, everyone thinks you’re nice in the absence of pressure. 

Understanding the Difference Between Stress and Pressure

“If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.” — Śāntideva

We often use ‘stress’ and ‘pressure’ interchangeably. It’s easier to clump both of them together. When our mind is out of rhythm with daily routines, we quickly say…”Whew! I’m so stressed out.” But, how often do you take the time to identify, which one is which? Working in a stressful job or feeling under pressure are related, but they are not the same.

Stress is when the demands outweigh our (perceived) ability to respond. We’re challenged with dealing with our daily lives — we don’t feel we have the time, patience, energy or the money to meet those hassles.

We bring undue stress on ourselves. For instance, if we desire to buy a new pair of shoes when we get paid, but have another responsibility to come up unexpectedly that needs to be resolved financially. We stress out because we’ve promised ourselves a new pair. However, the unscheduled responsibility outweighs the new pair of shoes. So, we get bent-out-of-shape.

In short, this is stress we can manageg; we could put the shoes in the budget in the coming weeks. 

Now…

Pressure is being forced into a situation you have no control over. And, if you don’t perform well under pressure, you feel — your reputation, your relationships, your success, are at risk.

Yes, while under pressure, your reputation, your relationships and your success could be at risk. 

Stress is Something You Allow to Harm You

Managing stress is all about how you adapt — your brain determines how you will respond. You will either adapt or become damaged, which over time creates non-coping skills. Every time you don’t take action to manage your stress, you’re creating setbacks, that will eventually lead to medication or taking other mind-altering supplements.

Again, stress is something we all can avoid. Above all, it must be managed through processes. 

Manageable Stress Helps You Get Tasks Done

Stress creates the motivation you need to get tasks complete — stress coaches your brain to cope with challenging situations. Positive stress provides the alertness needed for survival. For example, if you feel you are being threatened by a task you must complete, you’re going to become overwhelmed with the task, take frequent breaks, or even find a reason the task can’t be done or completed. 

Pressure is something you create yourself — when you exaggerate or over-dramatize the importance of a moment. Your expectations turn your mind into a pressure cooker. It can explode if you don’t handle it with care. For example, In college, I always studied my math notes for weeks before taking my exam. Math was a difficult subject for me at first. So, I worked closely with a tutor several times a week to help me solve some of the equations I struggled with.

I even made office visits to talk with my professor because I would get so worked up before my exam. A couple of days before the exam. I just knew I was going to fail. I felt like I wasn’t going to remember anything I learned. 

But, each time, I excelled because I put in the work. 

Did I not over-dramatize these math exams?

Yes! I did. Not only one time. But, every time. 

I studied hard for every exam. The pressure I put on myself was unnecessary pressure.

Better Under Pressure

I want to wake up every day and do whatever comes in my mind, and not feel pressure or obligations to do anything else in my life. Michael Jordan

I haven’t done an in-depth study on Michael Jordan. But, I know enough to say–He worked hard as a basketball player. Watching basketball was not one of my things, but it appears every generation knows who this guy is. And, parents are paying “pretty pennies for his tennis shoes.” 

Without a doubt, Michael Jordan has put in the work. Being retired, I’m sure he doesn’t want to feel the pressure or obligation to do anything else other than enjoying life and spending millions of dollars he’s earned.

Over the years, Michael put pressure on himself and had to decide what was most important. I’m sure that included his relationships and the responsibilities he had to others. Those decisions created pressure to perform negative or positive results. 

His pressure involved feelings of “you only have one chance to get this right.” When he created that one chance to get it right mindset, he put himself in a position to choose the results he was expecting. And, what was best for him.

There you have it. 

Pressure will bring out the best or the worse in you. Most of us under pressure become afraid and worry about the potential adverse outcomes, which may not weight in our favor. Therefore, we fail. 

So, the next time you’re under pressure asks yourself “Am I feeling overwhelmed by the demands I have control over, or do I feel I can’t excel and produce the desired results that will weigh in my favor because people may not like me?

Now that you understand stress and pressure. Be sure to share your results with me. I can’t wait to hear from you. Also, check out my blog “Is It That Hard to Find My Purpose in Life?

How to Release Your Mind’s Pressure

“Can we give ourselves one more chance?”— Queen & David Bowie

Use these 6 ways to handle the pressure of critical moments:

  • Harness and manage energy effectively — avoid the debilitating effects of pressure.
  • Learn to release steam rather than adding more pressure to your mind.
  • Make your own decisions, even, if it hurts someone else. 
  • Decide if the pressure is worth it for you–how long will it take?
  • Don’t turn back once you make the decision to move forward
  • Don’t fail. It’s no longer an option. 

If you practice, and know yourself, there’s nothing you need to worry about. 

Don’t let anxiety get in your way. Focus on the moment; the present is the only sure thing. Take it easy; your life doesn’t depend on one performance.

In conclusion, I can appreciate the governor’s perspective. You cannot manage what others think or want from you, but you can control not turning a situation into a life-or-death moment. 

You will mess up, learn a lesson, and reflect from there. 

If you deal with your stress or you’re under pressure, ask yourself: What’s the worst thing that can happen?

Take charge. Now go break a leg.

[Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post may include affiliate links. This means that I get a commission if you purchase the product through my link at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.]