My late Dad, who oozed insight, guidance and modesty in equally Herculean proportions, was fond of aphorisms. One of his favourites was: pressure is good, stress is bad.

How right he was! We thrive on pressure, it helps us meet deadlines and increases our productivity. If we don’t apply pressure to ourselves, or we don’t get it from an external force, we’re get nowhere near as much done. It galvanises us, energises us, catalyses us. Just ask any journalist, writer or sports person.

Stress, on the other hand, is what happens when pressure overspills, or we don’t handle the pressure appropriately. Stress reduces our productivity, affects our equilibrium and harms our health, sometimes dramatically so.

The difference between the two is our relative ability to channel the inputs correctly into the desired outputs. And if we can’t do it, we should call for help – and call early.

 

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