When I say “pressure,” what exactly crosses your mind? Something from a physics law that you learnt in class? Or the movie scene where the hero saves an injured by applying pressure to the wound?
Well, there are many scenarios that we can think about when talking about pressure, but I’m talking about one particular aspect here — the pressure faced by youth nowadays.
This is something that people inflict knowingly, as well as unknowingly on others and even sometimes themselves. It’s quite inconsiderate and meant to pressurise anyone. Not only does it affect one’s mental health, it also urges one to overwork themselves. A few common categories where pressure from other people is widely given, are stated as follows:
Weight and figure
Being born in a desi household, we’re normally told to maintain our weight and figure. Sometimes, hearing such things is okay because too much fat causes health issues and people asking us to lose weight is out of pure concern, but it gets out of hand when you’re slightly chubby and everyone keeps commenting on how fat you are. Not only does it break one’s spirit, it also makes one feel like he/she is ugly.
Some parents get pressurised by relatives when the relatives comment about their children’s weight and looks, and, as a result, their children start having a complex. There are even advices given without asking, about how others should maintain themselves. Through such constant comments, the person who is at the receiving end gets pressurised to lose weight as if their life depended upon it. Look around yourself and you’ll find many cases like these.
Whether it is primary, secondary, high school, college or university, at every stage of education, children face pressure from people in many ways. Parents may criticise other parents for being harsh on their children regarding studies and expectations, but they too do the same with their children.
Whenever a complaint from the teacher regarding a child is brought to the attention of a parent, the first instinct is to scold or to express disappointment towards the child. Only a few sit down with their children and talk to them about the problems that are faced by them that would have resulted in bringing about the issue.
The result day is definitely not the best day for most students. Children may either be those who can do all things perfectly or they always need to prove themselves to their parents by scoring well in exams.
God forbid if the exam result gets messed up by a child, they have to hear a long harsh lecture on how much of a disappointment they have been to their parents. The parents, on the other hand, ignore the hard work that the children put into their exams and just focus on every other person who has scored better and their own shame in having a child who is not on top of his class.
This is a toxic system where parents, relatives and elders all make every possible effort to pressurise children to excel at all costs, even the child’s emotional well-being.
Choosing a major
Students are met with unasked for advices about choosing a major in university. Everyone just loves to have a say in this matter too, whether it concerns them directly or not. Some students are very clear about what they want to choose, others are not. Either way, both kinds are showered with all kinds of advices, such as, “Choose XYZ major, it has scope” or “Go with XYZ major, the pay is good in it.”
It’s quite saddening how society prioritises scope and money rather than one’s passion for certain subjects.
Some families are successful pressuring their children into choosing a field of study the parents want. So many dreams get crushed in an instant in situations like these. A child is either too obedient to accept what their parents want or they are too coward to speak up for themselves.
As soon as one graduates from university, everyone throws a truckload of questions related to job at the poor soul. Considering the state of the economy in the country and the use of sources or recommendations to secure a job, it’s quite difficult to get a job for most people without the right connections.
No matter how much one applies, no matter how much hard work one does 24/7, getting a job quickly is rare or purely on luck. Even if one somehow manages to get a job, it is most likely to have a pay that’s very low. The jobs that are advertised have criteria that are not easy for many fresh graduates to meet. For instance, most vacancies require experience of at least a few years. Who will provide the said experience to a newcomer if no one offers a job?
Such criteria are ridiculously mind-baffling. But the fresh graduate is left to face the questions from their family, relatives, friends and society.
The readers are most likely to relate to at least one of these categories. It’s understandable how hurtful these things can be.
Pressure leads to stress and stress leads to countless things that are harmful for us. It has physical effects on the human body as well as mental effects. Stress increases blood pressure, heart rate and amount of sugar in one’s blood. It’s also a brain cell killer.
The immune system doesn’t work well under stress. It also leads to depression and anxiety, making one unable to recognise their self worth. Poor memory and low concentration is also caused by it. Stress is quite normal, but too much of anything isn’t healthy. It is a ticking time bomb. If not dealt with on time, it becomes uncontainable as well as lethal.
How to deal with stress
Keeping in mind the fact that we don’t have control over what others say or think, I came up with some effective solutions for such pressures. They are stated as follows:
1) Ignore what others say: If one doesn’t let what others say bother them, there will be no pressure. Build a shield by paying no attention to what you get to hear and the pressure shall have little effect on you.
Some may term it as being rude, but if you do it without rolling your eyes or speaking rudely in return, it will not be rude. Have patience and silently ignore the words.
2) Express your opinion politely: When others are telling you to do certain things, things that don’t go exactly your way, expressing your opinion about it is a much better option. It’ll let others know what you think and it’ll give them a better insight into what you want to do with your life. However, those who think that they’re always right will not respect or consider your opinion.
3) Be an expert at pretending: Some people don’t give up until they feel they have convinced you to do things their way. And to deal with people like these, one can pretend to be convinced in front of them. It’s like hearing from one ear and letting it out of the other. This way, you’ll be free from getting further pressurised from them.
4) Stay secretive: Keep your ideas and plans to yourself and only share it with the ones you can trust your ideas with or whom it may concern, such as your immediate family. If others don’t get to hear about it then they will not be able to give unsolicited advice too.
5) Do yoga: Doing yoga is very relaxing. It calms one’s mind and body. Yoga has countless benefits and one must do it regularly to stay healthy physically, mentally and emotionally.
6) Immerse yourself in nature: Nature is the best healer. Go for walks. Visit the parks. Observe your surroundings. Take a closer look at the flowers that hadn’t bloomed or the leaves that fall during harsh weather, or the birds that come to feed their children after a long day. Or the cats that are engaged in a playful fight.
Everything tells a different, yet beautiful, story. It gives us lessons to learn. Nature has a calming effect on the mind and other senses, and feeds positive thoughts and offers a perfect environment to let one’s thoughts wander about, often leading to beautiful new ideas.
7) Busy yourself with hobbies: Engaging oneself in hobbies can distract one’s mind from the pressures faced from society. I’ve witnessed many people who quit their hobbies because they thought their hobbies were childish, or old-fashioned or not cool enough, or a waste of time. The thing is, hobbies are what gives us pleasure. It gives one a sense of self-prioritisation. Therefore, we should never give up hobbies. If you feel bored of a hobby, find a new one, but never eliminate this aspect from your life. For it makes you, you.
From badly affecting one’s health to making one extremely doubtful, pressure has never been kind to anyone. Understand this issue and help the ones suffering, including yourself. Dearest readers, I want you to always remember, “Don’t give the seeds of your precious life onto the hands of others, enabling them to grow a plant out of their selfish wishes.”
Published in Dawn, Young World, January 25th, 2020