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Reducing the Pressure We Feel Every Day

Hendrie Weisinger Ph.D.

March 18, 2015

"When you experience pressure anxiety—the feeling that you have to produce all the time—your emotional landscape changes for the worse. Small annoyances like picking up your dry-cleaning, for example, begin to interfere with your need to 'produce.' Going to your daughter's play becomes an intrusion. Going on vacation can increase your anxiety, because it takes you away from what you should be doing: achieving results. Important conversations with your spouse may go south because of the subtle pressure of always being 'on.' Worse, your decisions may become distorted by your need to produce. And if your focus shifts solely to winning, at any cost, you may find yourself compromising your ethics. Pressure anxiety may seem irrational—a mediocre presentation to a client is not akin to physical death—and probably, in and of itself, will not lead to the end of a professional relationship. Similarly, your daughter being turned down from her first choice college will not end her life, although she may feel that way at the time. We often tell ourselves and our kids not to overreact to these kinds of temporary set-backs—to be rational. However, pressure anxiety makes it hard to hold that thought in mind."

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