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Under Too Much Pressure?

Most people have felt the pressure at one time or another, to conform to what others think, or to do better, be better. It might be an external pressure, or internal pressure, either way it can make the little things in life harder to do.

Life can be difficult enough as it is. We have pressure to grow up, on how to dress to fit in (or to stand out), what to say (or not say), people have opinions on what to do on a date, how to raise children, how to do your job. If you’re like I was, you might listen to all these people and try to fit in. Sometimes it felt like I was dealt a hand of cards when I was born and I was trying to work out how to play them, only I didn’t really know the game and everyone had a different opinion on how to play. Sometimes it was pressure from outside, more often though, it was internal pressure to have the perfect life, and mostly to fit in.

There are pressure everywhere. Pressure to look a certain way, especially when you look at magazines, dress a certain way, to have a certain income, to have a relationship, have kids, be skinny, be successful, to conform to what your family want. The list goes on.

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My grandpa has a shed, he likes to collects things. When I was about 7 he asked me to go down to the shed at and get him a wrench. He explained where he kept it, so I went down and it happened to be dusk. I opened the door and it was so dark inside. The light in the shed wasn’t working and the wrench he wanted was on the opposite side of the shed. I walked in, and I could remember the path across the shed so I walked slowly feeling my way.

From time to time I bumped into things, I knocked something over, or thumped my knee. I tried to remember the things I bumped into so that I could avoid it on the way back. I found the wrench and started walking back but it felt like I bumped into the same things and more. I thought that walking even slower would help, it didn’t. I felt like this a lot growing up. Like I’d say the wrong thing, like I didn’t know what to do or say and sometimes just felt lost and overwhelmed. I felt like there was pressure to know where everything was, pressure to do the right thing and to be perfect.

Being perfect is unrealistic

Where does it come from though, the feeling of needing to be perfect? At school most of us are taught to be quiet and listen and to fit in. Then we are encouraged to leave school, get a job, where we essentially do the same thing day in day out, where it’s about getting a good wage, about showing up every day… about fitting in.

Some people seem to handle it so well, or appear to…

Pressure is an emotion, or a stack of emotions. Everyone has different names for their feelings. Pressure for you could be it’s own emotion or maybe a stack of a few; frustration, guilt at not fitting in, stress, worry, feeling not good enough, perfectionism, to name a few. In the moments that we feel pressure, we often want to solve the problem that’s causing the pressure, so we start overthinking. Not just a little, but a lot. Analysing, running over situations in the past or the future, again and again trying to understand. Analysing helps us to distance ourselves from our feelings, which is great for those negative emotions, great as a short term solution for ignoring the pressure and keeping on going. It builds up though. So where do we learn how to let it go before it gets too much?

Do you want help with Sadness, Procrastination, Self-Sabotage, Confidence or Motivation?

It looks easy in the movies! In the movie Frozen, Elsa, feels the pressure of everyone else’s expectations building up, she cannot fit in, she’s different. So she runs away. She sings a song ‘Let it go’ and eventually gets to a place of accepting who she is. This is all good and well, but I walked away asking who was going to write the script or the song for me to learn how to ‘let it go’. How do you actually learn to handle the pressure in real life?

Handling the pressure is a skill

Overcoming pressure isn’t necessarily something we are born with. We learn it over time. Some of us faster than others. It helped me to know what was actually going on so that I could understand pressure to overcome it more quickly and more often.

One of the biggest reasons why we still feel the way we do, why we still feel the pressure is because we don’t know how to replace it. So ask yourself, how do you want to feel instead?

What people are saying about Emotion Academy:

"After many years of training, courses, and counselling in various forms I thought I had certain aspects of my life sorted. Yet completing Emotion Academy showed me that I had been running away from my emotions and not facing them. After Emotion Academy, now I have the tools to engage with myself and win the internal battles once and for all - Neil Welsh, Victoria

I want to feel calm, I want to have more positive thoughts, I want to solve problems easier.

Say it how you want it….

Have you ever seen a child pouring their own drink into a glass? They pour and pour until there is that bubble of liquid at the top of the glass and inevitably someone will say ‘don’t spill the drink’. And what happens 9 out of 10 times? The drink spills all over the table and the floor and someone will say ‘I told you not to spill the drink!’. When we hear the words ‘don’t spill the drink’ we create a picture in our head of that thing. But how do you create a picture of ‘not spilling the drink’? First we have to create a picture of spilling the drink before you can reverse it and create the picture of not spilling the drink. However, by the time you’ve created the picture of not spilling the drink, the drink is already spilt. A better way to make a suggestion in the first place could be by saying, ‘Pour the drink carefully’. That way there’s no need to create an opposite picture first, which needs reversing. If you don’t want the pressure, what do you want to feel and do instead? What’s realistic?

What if you stopped? Stopped in the moment, just before you feel overwhelmed, just before you feel like there’s too much pressure. Find a quiet space, stop and take three deep breaths. In through your nose and out through your mouth. The magnificent thing about breathing one is it’s automatic. The other thing is that when we breathe, our physiology changes, the way that we hold our body changes.

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Melisa Grigg - Head Coach & Trainer

Melisa was stuck in sadness for 15 years, hated her job, was overweight and her relationship had just ended. Melisa inspires people with her story and now teaches how she sorted her life out. She worked out how to be happy and how to lose over 30kg of body weight.  In simple steps she teaches how you can stop procrastinating, find confidence, stop being so sad and finally start to find true meaning and purpose in your life.

Breathing can help us to think better, help clear our mind, can give us a change in our emotional state. Often when we’re overwhelmed or stressed, we breathe fewer, shorter breaths. By breathing a deep breath in, filling our lungs, and out, it gives us a moment to change the way that we’re thinking. To say what we want, instead of what we don’t want. A moment of perspective, a moment of looking in and going what am I in control of? What can I do, what’s the next step?

Because we feel pressure when we think about everything all stacked up all at once. Those three deep breaths could be the difference between keeping on going down the same track or choosing something different. It might just be choosing to change one moment, one thing you say to yourself, one choice. A side step might change your response. If you’re working on a project and you feel the pressure from your boss, from your colleagues, from yourself, in those moments, taking three deep breaths and then focus on one thing you can do next, rather than looking at all the things that all stacked up. What’s the next thing? If you have a single focus on the next step that you can do, the next step that’s in your control, then it’s easier. The pressure might not seem so much, the next step might seem achievable, you might forget that there’s pressure at all, because now suddenly you’re relieving some of the pressure by getting stuff done. By moving forward.

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