Pressure is a weird thing. A small dose lets you grow wings and your business, too. 

Too much pressure and you end up making bad decisions, ruining your health, and getting action paralysis. 

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What is Workplace Pressure?

Workplace pressure is an experience of tension associated with current or anticipated work tasks. The tension arises from the person’s perceived difficulty in executing the aforementioned tasks, and their capability to perform on time and at sufficient quality. 

Almost 70% of the US workforce thinks that work is a huge source of pressure. Moreover, pressure escalates progressively over the years. Traditional work stressors have taken on a new face in the digital workspace. 

“How do you handle pressure at work?” is one of the commonly asked job interview questions. So, whether you are looking for a new job or have a team to manage, knowing how to work under pressure is a must-have coping skill for the workplace.  

Stress and Pressure at Work

Call it workplace stress, work demand, workload, or simply anxiety, pressure at work affects performance. When you need to set an example of calmness for your team and fail, your actions impact the whole team. 

Interestingly enough, being under pressure at work doesn’t necessarily produce workplace stress. Pressure is sometimes a good thing that boosts performance while hampering productivity on other occasions. However, the experience of any negative situation or mindset at work cascades to other life situations, and this is where you need to take resolute action to transform pressure into a business propeller.

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Causes of Pressure at Work You May Have Not Thought About

Here are the major causes that negatively affect your team performance and that cause you to remain stuck in a negative pressure scenario:  

  • Poor stress management. Most stress is a response to a threat that is not real or current. It is a learned evolutionary response to fight, flight, fawn, or freeze in dangerous situations. 
  • Creating a spiral loop between negative thoughts and emotions. How you think about a situation can improve or worsen your outlook. Negative thoughts create negative emotions, which in turn, affirm your negative thinking.
  • Mixing conscious and subconscious thinking. Negative, undermining thinking habits get ingrained in the subconscious at a very young age. Although you consciously see proof that a negative email response doesn’t mean a business disaster, your subconscious brain creates all sorts of dramatic outcomes. 
  • Lacking awareness of self-limiting beliefs. The most widespread self-limiting belief is the thought you are not good enough.

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  • Self-sabotaging habits. Negative thinking, self-limiting beliefs, and self-sabotaging habits self-perpetuate: “I have always done things in this way” creates workplace pressure and leads to burnout.  
  • Hanging out with negative people. As much as you influence other people, other people have an impact on you. If you are constantly surrounded by negative-thinking people, it is difficult to break the negative spiral loop. 
  • Addiction to negative emotions. Watching the news every day? Visiting the cinema to watch action-packed thrillers or horror movies? The search for stimulation is a natural human need but not if it costs you your health and creates negative pressure at work.
  • Meaning you give to events, stories, and scenarios. There is one reality based on facts. The meaning you give to that reality directs you towards negative thinking and can create unnecessary workplace pressure.

Let’s jump into what actions help you handle pressure at work when you are facing a seemingly impossible workload or a challenging workplace situation.  


How to Handle Pressure at Work Consistently

Train to adopt as many of the following positive habits to handle pressure at work:

1. Remove stressful distractions.

Limit watching the news to once per week. Stop searching for negatively-stimulating experiences and surround yourself with supportive people. 

2. Meditate. 

Regular meditation puts your brain into relaxation mode by moving you from highly-focused and perceptive beta and gamma waves to low-activity alpha waves. 

3. Reflect.

Make time to self-reflection daily to reveal the deeper causes of your thoughts and behaviors and thus quickly spot when you build pressure for unrealistic reasons. Self-reflection is extremely effective in noticing self-sabotaging habits.

4. Practice affirmations.

Affirmation format is not as important as doing them consistently. You can reframe negative thinking patterns by transforming them into positive beliefs on a piece of paper. Or, you can use meditative affirmations or an affirmation app. 

5. Don’t perpetuate negative emotions. 

Negative emotions and experiences do exist. What matters more is not to overdramatize them by using them to strengthen negative beliefs.

6. Respond with curiosity, not defensiveness.

Another way to say this is to not take things personally. Respond, do not react. When a client ends a contract, investigate the reasons with curiosity and incorporate the lessons learned in the future. This is more helpful than beating yourself up as a failure.  

7. Remember that everything ends.

Such awareness is both good news and bad news, but it is a great remedy when things at work get tough under a lot of pressure. 

8. Detach the thoughts, meanings, and emotions you give to situations.

Every experience is subject to personal interpretation. So, when you struggle with difficult emotions, it is good to distinguish facts from the layers of meaning you have given to those facts. 

Train yourself into positive thinking.

Build a flash focus to handle pressure at work before it gets to you.

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