Prior to training in a number of therapies and as a Mindfulness teacher, I spent twenty-five years working in a range of busy HR roles, in a variety of corporate environments. Both my own experiences and the experiences of those people I have worked with have provided me with a wonderful insight into the very delicate balance between pressure and performance.
Life is constantly busy, with increasing demands on our time and a variety of expectations in both our working and personal lives. Many of us have caring responsibilities for children or ageing family members and in some cases, we may be responsible for both.
There have also been significant technological advances which may be perceived to be of great benefit to us all but can also be viewed as an additional burden. How do any of us ever switch off with so much information on demand and so many people and issues calling for our attention?
As a business owner or part of a team working for a small to medium-sized company, there are some specific causes of stress or pressure, which include:-
The need to become an expert in many areas
The challenge of balancing workloads and meeting deadlines
Managing finances and keeping on top of cash flow
Knowing you are directly responsible for the success of your business
Being able to ‘switch off’ and not worry about the consequences of doing so!
Attracting or retaining customers
Managing social media
Balancing work and home
Keeping abreast of changes in our industry
Of course, pressure isn’t always a negative thing. At the right level it can motivate us to take action and to accomplish many of the things we wish to achieve. The problem is of course about when the ‘pressure’ becomes too much. One of the worst ways that pressure can impact us is by adversely affecting our levels of confidence, paralysing us and preventing us from taking any action at all.
Statistics from the World Health Organisation are also of growing concern and suggest that one in four of us is likely to experience some kind of mental health condition during the next twelve months. Similarly, the Health and Safety Executive are reporting ever-increasing cases of stress, anxiety and depression in a variety of roles and in a variety of industries.
So, what can we do about these pressures and how can we take steps to manage and support our own mental health and wellbeing?
Understanding the delicate balance between pressure and stress is the first step in recognising what is going on in our respective worlds and how we are responding to the pressures we are facing. In addition, there is a significant amount of evidence documented in research which outlines the benefits of regular Mindfulness practice. These benefits include increased levels of happiness, improved clarity of thinking, enhanced decision-making and improvements in our mental health.
Why not join me, Lorraine Checklin of Flourish Health and Wellbeing at Stratford’s Socially Shared meeting on 21st November. Where I will be encouraging you to explore and consider your own causes of pressure and the effects that excessive pressure has upon you. I will also begin to introduce some Mindfulness techniques to support you in recognising and reducing your own stress levels.
If my own career history has taught me one thing then it is the importance of finding balance, which I am keen to share with everyone I meet, both personally and professionally.