Jun. 10—Hello, Reader. As a minister, I am not only concerned about your spiritual growth but also your emotional and physical well-being. This is why many of my columns deal with life in general. I want the best for each of you. Please take any advice in this column from my heart to yours.

III John verse 2 " Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers."

We all face pressure at different points of life. It may manifest as tight deadlines, creating a sales presentation for a new client, or a demanding boss at work.

Home life also brings different pressures, such as meeting your family's needs, handling a special needs child, or caring for a sick loved one.

How you maintain your focus while under different levels of pressure begins with the following nine tips.

1. Focus on Completing One Task at a Time

Pressure causes you to lose focus. Soon you find yourself working on eight different projects and accomplishing none. It helps to list the tasks you need to do and then choose one of them to complete. Then, move on to the next. Before you know it, you will have the whole list complete.

2. Stop Procrastinating

If you are a procrastinator, you set yourself up for undue pressure. Many times, pressure comes from a lack of action. Now is not the time to put things off; instead, you will increase your anxiety and stress. Just pick up that first task and get started.

3. Take Regular Breaks

You may think of this as counterintuitive. Once you get into a rhythm, you want to get things done. Yet, you will face overload and burnout without the occasional break to re-focus and decompress. There are many techniques to help you focus that give you opportunities for breaks, such as the Pomodoro technique.

4. Slow Down and Breathe Deep

The extra pressure you experience releases stress hormones for your fight or flight mechanisms. Deep breathing tells your body to stop emitting those hormones. Concentrated breathing techniques aid you in redirecting your mind to those tasks you are working on now.

5. Make Sleep a Priority

Lack of sleep makes things seem worse, and stress causes insomnia in some people. You then find yourself in a vicious cycle. The more pressure you are under, the more you need to value your sleep. It helps if you create a bedtime routine to help your mind wind down, including shutting down electronic devices before bed.

6. Maintain Your Exercise Routine

Sleep helps your mind and body repair themselves. Exercise helps your body handle stress better by releasing hormones to make you feel better. Being under pressure is not a reason to stop exercising. Instead, it is a great reason to keep up your routine or establish one.

7. Accept Mistakes and Move On

You may make more mistakes when you feel pressure and then feel more frustrated. It's helpful to rethink your attitude toward making mistakes and consider them an opportunity to learn and grow.

8. Ask for Help

It's okay to ask for help and support when the pressure gets to be too much. Talk with your coworkers, boss, partner, or friend about what you need and how they can support you. It is much better to swallow your pride than make a huge mistake while in a stressful situation.

9. Learn from the Pressure

Constantly working under pressure is not good for your well-being. Eventually, you will burn out if you don't learn from each experience. Consider past times of undue stress and look for patterns. Develop a strategy to prevent this from reoccurring.

Dr. Michael Layne can be reached at 812-614-2160 or, www.faithpoints.org

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