Coping With Pressure

Words: Paribha VASHIST

The moment adolescents break out of the cocoon of their protected lives, and enter the complex world of young adults, they are exposed to every harsh reality of life. Just as social circles matter more than ever before, there is also, in concert, this natural build-up — of innate pressure to stand out in the crowd. Professional competence and social acceptance supersede all other factors. Naturally, pressure builds up exponentially — from parents and peers. In this scenario, our attitude counts significantly. The saving grace is: the source of our trouble and our well-being are all within us, so how pressure affects us depends a lot on how we perceive it from the multihued prism of our emotional stability.

Parental Pressure

Parents tend to place high expectations on their children; they wish their children excel in life and reach the stars; maybe, stardom in their chosen field. In the process, they end up sidelining their kids’ mental health. Is there a way out? Yes, we, as individuals, must strive to have clear channels of communication with our parents.

  • We must consider their point of view. Why do they have that expectation from us in the first place? What is the reasoning behind it?
  • Next, if we feel that their expectations are rational and prod us towards a good, interesting challenge, we must go ahead with it. For this, it is imperative to devise a holistic strategy, also systematic plan, and follow them meticulously. Now, we should not look back till we achieve our target, or goal
  • If we do not feel that their expectations are in sync with our passion, or interest, we must express our apprehensions openly. Besides, if we don’t feel motivated enough to meeting that expectation, our journey would be full of misery — something that our parents would never want. 

Peer Pressure

The source of pressure isn’t just limited to our parents, it also comes from our peers — good and bad. A set of friends with similar intellectual proclivities and aspirations in life constantly motivate us to work hard by putting a good amount of healthy pressure — one could also call it ‘friendly competition.’ When we’re feeling low, or uninterested, in studying, for example, observing the perseverance of our fellow mates and their perceptions of the same task can help uplift our spirits. A healthy pressure of this sort is always desirable as it substantially boosts our productivity and improves the quality of our outcomes.

Yet, we must remember that maturity levels differ across peer groups, especially at the young adults’ level. As we are still discovering ourselves and exploring new options, we have a high probability of coming under undue influence. Sometimes, we are not able to distinguish between right and wrong, and the realisation comes to us when the situation is out of control. To avoid such a rigmarole, we must take control of ourselves, and this requires us to be spiritually strong. When we have a clear, inner equilibrium of thoughts and a sense of profound connection with our conscience, most pressures do not affect us as much. When we enter this state of mental calm, we often develop our own definition of what it means to be ‘cool,’ or ‘popular.’ This may also, in so doing, help us avoid certain actions that could harm us and others. Put simply, it no longer matters whether our friends conform to ‘our way,’ or My Way, as Frank Sinatra crooned with his magical baritone. The only thing that now counts is the feeling of empowerment that we get from making the ethically right choice.

Things To Do

  • Practicing mindfulness. Being more aware of our surroundings; spending time meditating and doing yoga; focusing on listening to the natural sounds around us
  • Maintaining a journal, and penning down our thoughts, can help us weigh our emotions and make balanced, informed decisions
  • Forming the ‘right’ friends’ circle, and realising that not all individuals around us are positive influences capable of understanding our emotions; keeping only those individuals close who care about us and help us stay optimistic; avoiding people who push us towards cyclical and damaging activities
  • Learning to say ‘no;’ developing the habit of refusing to perform an activity that we ‘feel’ is wrong; finding creative ways to saying ‘no,’ while using humour, satire, etc.,
  • Carving our own niche; building our own example for others to derive inspiration from; engaging in hobbies, such as sports, music, drama, can help us develop inner confidence and ‘that’ special aura.

This list may not be the ‘Marauder’s Map’ to uncovering all strategies to dealing effectively with parental and peer pressure, but it surely puts us in the appropriate trajectory — because, the first step in the right direction, at the ‘right’ time, is all that matters.

PARIBHA VASHIST is a second-year Bachelor of Economics student at Gargi College, University of Delhi, New Delhi. A voracious reader and a naturally gifted writer, Vashist is zealously passionate about international economics, environmental policy and sustainable development. She wishes to effectively disseminate, in her own simple, yet profound way, scientific knowledge and policy tools to bringing about a positive, healthy change in our increasingly madding world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  −  one  =  one

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.