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One Potent Reframe & Three Dank Resources: Part 1
The difference between stress and pressure
Last month, I shared a post about rewriting how we orient to stress. A friend shared with me this poetic little distinction that’s worth keeping in your pocket.
Think about stress, and what comes to mind? For me, I think of the frantic cramming to complete a deliverable, like the final Finance exam from my business school journey. I harken to various times in my life when feelings of stress were the signposts of legit overwhelm and burnout. I remember a decade ago training for a half marathon and getting a stress fracture on my left foot that aborted that endeavor.
What becomes clear: stress is felt on a spectrum from low- to high-grade, from singular encounters to repetitive exposure.
Think about pressure, and what comes to mind? I think of pressure cookers and pressure washing. I think of the earth and its tectonic plates moving in on itself and forcing an alchemical state of pressure to create magnificent gemstones.
High, repetitive stress has a different quality from low stress and from pressure. Legit stress breaks. Pressure molds. Pressure cooks and transforms. Pressure creates jewels out of random geological matter.
Extrapolate this further. Consider how we react to the impact of our responsibilities. Stress is overwhelm; it’s burnout. Pressure is a timed creative sprint; it’s pomodoro technique.
Stress is painful; pressure is propulsive.
There’s a mental model called hormesis. It’s the concept that a low dose of something can have the opposite effect of a high dose. A low dose of muscular stress causes inflammation that actually supports muscle growth. A low dose of radiation supports the eradication of cancer cells.
In life and work, a little bit of stress or pressure wakes you up, but a lot of stress is bad for you.
The wisdom here is this:
When we’re stressed, there’s usually a crack in the system somewhere, a little bit of agency we have. We can map a stressful thing down to a more fertile compound of pressure by creating a sound plan with clear eyes. Reason the stress out of it. Find that crack, use your tools, and break it down.
Note: If you are beset by persistent burnout from your work situation, here’s six research-backed strategies to move that stuckness to a propulsive transformation.
Here’s a few valuable and meaningful tools and resources that have become a part of my inner sanctum.
📱 Mindful Glimpses: Loch Kelly is a frequent contributor to Sam Harris’ Waking Up portal for mindfulness. He’s a gifted practitioner and teacher and has deep, unique wisdom practices to share. He has created a meditation app. I was convinced the world didn’t need another meditation app, but I’m convinced now after playing around with Kelly’s creation that he has added something of real value. Check it out for “advanced yet simple micro-meditations.”
📼 Coming Home, a YouTube Channel: My two twin brothers-in-law have created a beautiful, compelling YouTube channel exploring in raw, tender interviews the near-death experiences of everyday folks. What results in each video is inspiring and challenging conclusions about our life choices and our mortality, and above all, the beneficent force of light that undergirds each and every one of the experiences shared. Highly recommend; check it out.
🎙️ AudioPen: As someone who writes a lot (journaling, creative writing, and this newsletter), I have long-awaited some better mechanism than voice memos for recording my voice when writing isn’t ideal. If I’m walking or driving and a thought occurs for journaling or a Pocket post, yes, I can use a Voice Memo to record it, and yes, there are options out there for auto-transcribing it. Enter AudioPen, created by an old ally of mine from our On Deck Writing fellowship. AudioPen uses AI both to automatically transcribe up to 15 minutes of my dictation but extrapolates the salient points and rewrites the original in whatever form I prefer. It’s now a part of my daily routine. Check it out.
Take care everyone,