We’ve all felt pressured before, but it can be hard to put your finger on. It’s a sense of urgent completion, which is frequently accompanied by a feeling of reluctance or outright dread of completing the task. It doesn’t have to be that way, though.

Learning about pressure can help you manage it, and turn a stressful situation into a chance to shine.

Pressure Explained

Pressure is a sense of urgency all wrapped up with feelings of insistent importance. It’s caused by a lot of things, but can be especially apparent at work.

Pressure can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you approach it and react.

Working under pressure is an excellent skill to master, although it can be challenging as well. Many people fold under pressure and experience stress, but some people use coping mechanisms and other tricks to turn pressure into motivation.

Positive Pressure

Not all pressure has to be negative. A lot of people overlook the fact that pressure can be a big positive, too. You have to master your reaction to pressure if you want to turn it into a force for good.

Pressure can motivate people to do their best work. It can cause a sense of challenge, one that you need to rise up to in order to meet. Some of the biggest accomplishments in the world were carried out under extreme pressure, and you can perform at that level too.

There is even a psychological term for people who experience positive pressure and excel under it, called ‘flow.’ Flow is when you’re completely absorbed in your task with little or no attention to the outside world.

Achieving a sense of flow is vital to those people who perform at the highest levels. You can experience it, too. The more you practice in a high-pressure environment, the more likely you are to become completely engrossed in your work.

Pressure & Stress

Pressure that is not properly dealt with frequently leads to stress. Stress feels like an uncomfortable lump in your stomach, or a headache, or a general sense of uneasiness. When you work under stress, rather than pressure, our work suffers. You have problems completing tasks, you’re scattered and ‘all over the place,’ and your people skills drop to nearly nothing.

Excess stress is why some people ‘snap’ at others while they’re working, and it general it causes a whole host of negative things. With practice, you can turn pressure into a positive.