After reading the book, I had an opportunity to speak with Weisinger about this concept. While we all face both stress and pressure in our personal and professional lives, Weisinger makes a clear distinction between the two. Stress may involve a variety of problems that lead to feelings of overload. A meeting that runs late, a long list of emails that need responses, and several looming deadlines that need to be addressed may cause a fair amount of stress. Weisinger explains that distinguishing between stress and pressure leads to different courses of action.
Perhaps you can go for a walk to reduce your stress after a long day at the office. Or maybe you could get your endorphins in motion with some exercise. And a helicopter pilot who needs to make an emergency landing needs to put his energy into performing at his best, not reducing his stress level. In true pressure situations, we need to devote every ounce of energy into the task-at-hand.
Knowing that you are in a pressure moment is your cue to focus on the performance that will meet the demands of the task at hand. This overreaction to everyday discomforts takes a toll on our performance because it deletes valuable psychological and physical resources. We lose the ability to think clearly and our energy becomes misplaced as we continue to act as though everyday activities are a matter of life and death.
It is important that learners of all ages have opportunity to take part in scientific endeavours that can cultivate a sense of criticality about facts and figures fed to us in the media. From local biodiversity to comets in deep space, participating in citizen science has the potential to encourage skills of critical thinking, which we hope to foster and develop in all of our citizens. There is a hypothesis that eating ultraprocessed foods can disrupt signals between the gut and the brain, encouraging us to keep eating. The extensive Princeton Companion to Mathematics overview even needed a companion volume.
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