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Live In A Pressure Cooker? Then Turn Down The Heat.

Live In A Pressure Cooker? Then Turn Down The Heat.
We all have our pressure moments but many people experience feelings of being under pressure every day. These people feel they live in a pressure cooker.
Take The Pressure Cooker Inventory and you’ll gain some perspective on why you always feel pressure.  Then read the recommendations on how to feel pressure-less.  Give yourself 1 (low) to 9 (high) points based on how you rate your position on the following items:
  • Frequently feel you are on alert
  • Feel you have to please others
  • Always feeling you have to produce results
  • Question your capabilities
  • Fear negative consequences if not successful
  • Feel others are counting on you; Worry about rejection from others
  • Competitive with others; Keep your feelings to yourself
  • Feel you can’t put down the load you are carrying

Scoring Parameters

80 -100—People in this range typically feel there is no relief from pressure, that they always “have to be on”, and can’t take a break. They feel burdened daily, and are always thinking about what they have to do the next day and yet are tired of “carrying the load.” They are concerned about their future at night and wake up, wondering if they will achieve their goals. Much of their working day is devoted to wondering if their boss and clients thinks well of them. They rarely feel they have job security.

Underlying these feelings are inherent pressure inducers that we all experience, but for those in this category, they are intensified because of their psychological make-up. These include their competitive nature –they always feel they have to be # 1 and “beat the other guy” or else be “weeded out” so their is always relentless pressure on them to perform better and better; their need to be accepted by others and fear of being rejected by others so they are always under the pressure of feeling they have to please others, and feeling responsible for others that often causes them to feel burdened..

Look at your responses for each item and reflect upon your reasons for your high rating.  You’ll get some revelations into how the aforementioned factors influence your feelings of pressure.

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40-70- –People in this range are like the above but to a lesser degree. They feel they always have something to do, they rarely take extended times to relax, worry about the future, and often feel they are behind the eight ball.

10-30: you feel in control of your life. They feel pressure in particular moments when they have to deliver the goods but do not experience daily burdensome feelings of pressure.

If you were to come to my office, I would give you five actions you can take to reduce the feelings of pressure you experience that you could do in just a few minutes. Here are a few of the things
I would prescribe to you:

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Focus on how good you are at something, not your ranking.  Competition is a natural pressure inducer because it encourages us to try to be better than others. The tradeoff is a constant feeling that “you have to be the best,” which can create unrealistic expectations and a sense that you don’t measure up. Focusing on your own excellence, rather than beating out the other person, puts you in control of your destiny. It promotes feelings of confidence, rather than pressure anxiety

Let your values and personal expectations guide you.  Literature, films and television shows are rich in story lines in which a characters feels enormous pressure to live up to the expectations of others and we relate to them because it’s such a common pressure.

Whether because of a fear of rejection or the need to be accepted, attempting to perform to meet the expectations of others helps to exacerbate pressure. It can force you to navigate a different course than you would otherwise.

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Staying true to your values and honoring the goals and expectations you set for yourself are more likely to reduce the feelings of pressure you experience and free yourself from feeling you always have to be pleasing others.

Focus on meaningful purpose, not incentives.  Those who pursue their passions, develop their interest and achieving a sense of purpose and meaning from their work are much more likely to experience positive emotions at work than those who focus on attaining incentives 
such as salaries bonuses and promotions. Paradoxically, those who focus excessively on attaining incentives or losing them are more likely to feel stress, anxiety, and fear— emotions that intensify feelings of pressure that, ironically, inhibit their capabilities to attain the very incentives they desire don’t, as well as greater productivity.

If you are starting out in the work world, follow your genuine interests— any pressure you experience will be buffered by the feelings of curiosity and fulfillment
that come from following your passions. If you’ve been in the work world for a while, try to rekindle your purpose.

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Appreciate what you “have,” not what you “have not.” Experiencing joy is a great minimizer of pressure. Appreciate the people, events, opportunities, and achievements that enrich your life, but which so many of us often take for granted. Focusing on what you
 don’t have will likely increase your feelings of pressure. To feel pressure-less, take a few minutes each day to appreciate what you have. You’ll actually be stimulating the reward center in your brain which creates pleasurable feelings so you’ll will feel calmer, happier, and more relaxed.

We all live in the Age of Pressure but you don’t have to let it cook you —you can depressurize!

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The DNA of Success: 4 Attributes We All Need Live In A Pressure Cooker? Then Turn Down The Heat. The Art Of Taking Criticism: Get Curious? Helping Your Kids Handle Pressure Under Pressure? 6 Ways to Stay Cool, Calm, and Collected

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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