It has been my experience that pressure has led to several final drafts, presentations, productions, and performances. Pressure before the sports event forces the athlete to practice; the deadline for a news article reinforces a forced focus for the writer. Pressure gets things done. But what about psychological effects? What kinds of effects linger on after a stressful event? In some cases, the process was a very rewarding learning experience, reinforcing dedication, perseverance, and pushing through distractions. But other times, stress puts relationships, and physical bodies under the microscope. Sometimes stress can leave a negative experience with a person or group, atmosphere, project, or object.
Stress has an effect on the brain, and is caused by some outside factor, or stimuli. It has been shown that stress has symptoms such as sweaty palms, racing heart, and nervous tension in the stomach. Long-term effects can have the results of dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Memory loss has also been associated. So what are people doing to relieve stress? Often, it’s not relieving, it’s just management, or coping mechanisms. Things like porn, overeating, tv-marathons, weight-lifting, music, alcohol (insert yours here). These things push the stress out momentarily, but then the stress comes back. Perhaps the stress is attached to the lifestyle of the individual, and “coping mechanisms” are not supposed to be what we have made them to be.
“A high-pressure work environment can produce a lot of stress, but that’s just life”, one might say. But what if stress isn’t an inevitable element of life? Sure, stress is important for weight-lifters, but this kind of stress is is short-lived, and doesn’t produce relational drama. Emotional stress is closer to our soul. This kind of pressure weighs on the deepest parts of a person. One of the most tender and sensitive parts of what makes us who we are. No paycheck or promotion is worth a subtle life-long trauma.