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7 Pillars of Positive Resilience: Pressure-Performance

Pressure-Performance – the sixth pillar of Positive Resilience

STRESS CAN ACTUALLY BE GOOD FOR YOU: PEOPLE WHO EFFECTIVELY HARNESS STRESS HAVE MORE MEANINGFUL LIVES, HIGHER PERFORMANCE AND PROTECTION AGAINST DISEASE

Pressure-Performance is the sixth pillar of Positive Resilience, the science and practice of developing mastery over our ability to not just cope with disruption and challenges but thrive and reach our full potential for happiness and success. This factor is all about developing strategies to balance pressure and performance, so we feel stimulated and challenged but not overwhelmed.

Did you know that experiencing a degree of stress can have powerful benefits1,2,3, such as improving alertness and performance, boosting memory, improving relationships3 and even providing protection against disease? Of course, it also is well-known that extreme or chronic stress can be detrimental to your health and performance1,2. So to live life fully and perform at your best you need to balance pressure and performance, finding the sweet spot that improves your life without overwhelming you.

People who successfully build coping strategies to balance pressure and performance feel stimulated and challenged, have stretching but achievable deadlines and work demands, and push themselves out of their comfort zone while feeling confident in their ability to cope.

Balancing Pressure and Performance

As your environment changes, so too may the sweet spot between performance and overload, so you’ll need to pay continuous attention to ensure the balance in different areas is optimal. While some aspects of your environment will be outside your control, there may be some areas where you can take action to improve the pressure-performance equilibrium.

A good first step is to make sure you’re supporting your wellbeing with healthy habits of diet, exercise and sleep.4 See tomorrow’s article on Wellbeing for more ideas.

Then review which areas of your life are causing you unhealthy stress, and also those where you’re not feeling sufficiently stretched. Try coping strategies that have worked successfully for you before, or that others recommend. Focus on what’s most important to you and prioritise your daily tasks accordingly. Ask for support or training and delegate more. Discuss unreasonable deadlines with your manager, if possible. Take relaxation, mindfulness or stress management courses and develop ways to manage stress that work for you.

References and further reading

  1. The Surprising Benefits of Stress, The Greater Good Magazine, Berkley, October 2015
  2. How Some Stress Can Be Good For You, According to Experts, Time, November 2018
  3. Stress may drive people to give as well as receive emotional support, Penn State University, February 2020
  4. 12 Proven Ways Successful People Deal With the Pressure to Perform, Inc.com, March 2016