How well do you cope under pressure?

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How well do
you cope under pressure?

All of us experience different degrees of pressure and stress at some time in our lives but we deal with it in different ways.

Some causes of stress are perhaps easier to deal with than others.

The taking of school examinations, for example, is a common cause of stress. However, because we know for a number of years in advance that these exams will take place we have time to prepare ourselves both mentally and by taking mock examinations and revising

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The real examinations of life are, however, not so predictable.The following is a list of some common events and experiences which can cause stress. It is when these events occur unexpectedly and simultaneously (the double or triple whammy) that we are at our most vulnerable to stress.

Death of a partner

Divorce=separation=break up of a relationship

Death of a close relative or friend

Personal illness

Illness of a loved one

Moving house


Large mortgage=debts

Children leaving home

Changes at work ^ new job, boss, responsibilities

Common responses to stress include loss of sleep, irritability, short temper, worry and stress-related ailments.

Dealing with responses to stress can be difficult since what one person finds stressful or pressurising, another may not, and we all react to different stressful situations in different ways.

Nevertheless, a good starting point is increasing your awareness of the main causes of pressure and stress since this at the very least could help you in trying to see what you can do about it.

There are several suggested steps that you can take to combat stress or the effects of pressure.

Sometimes, the best cure is prevention and an analysis of the type of situations that you have found pressurising in the past should enable you to look out for similar situations that may occur in the future, and to recognise any warning signs that you are about to enter into a similarly stressful period.

It is, of course, desirable to maintain some sort of exercise to keep yourself in good shape, especially in times of stress.

It is also desirable to try to get a good night’s sleep, and, if possible, especially when you cannot sleep because of the number of negative thoughts racing through your head, confront the cause of the pressure by writing down the thoughts that are occurring to you and then attempting to analyse and evaluate them.

It is also necessary to talk to people about the pressures that you are experiencing. In other words, do not bottle things up inside you.

Confide in a friend, partner or relative, even, if necessary, a professional counsellor. It may be that after talking things through in this way, your fears may be put into perspective and the pressures no longer feel so great.

When the pressure is work related it is necessary to discipline yourself to switch off from the situation that is causing the pressure. This may be achieved by reserving weekends for yourself and your family in order to give yourself an emotional and mental break. If this is not possible, then try to organise a longer break. If this does not seem possible due to the pressures and workload which have built up, then remember that no one is indispensible and that the most important thing is your health and mental well-being.

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