Difference between Pressure and Stress

Key Difference: Pressure entails a sense of urgency that is imposed on someone. Pressure is often used as a motivating factor. However, if a person has to face too much pressure or is under pressure too often, then the pressure may lead to stress. Stress has a negative impact. It causes the person to feel burned out or tensed.

In daily life, one often experiences pressure and stress, whether it is at work, home, school, between group of friends, etc. The bottom line is that everyone has to deal with pressure and stress. However, what are the actual differences between the two? Are they actually the same?

Pressure entails a sense of urgency that is imposed on someone. This may lead to two out comes: either the person is invigorated by the pressure or it will cause the person to feel stressed.

Putting pressure on someone is usually making significant demands of someone. At the best of times, pressure may challenge someone to achieve something which is either difficult to achieve in and of itself or difficult to achieve within the time frame that has been set. Pressure is often used as a motivating factor. 

However, if a person has to face too much pressure or is under pressure too often, then the pressure may lead to stress.

Stress has a negative impact. It causes the person to feel burned out or tensed. It often leads to headaches, insomnia or decreased productivity. In the long run, stress has been known to contribute to health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Comparison between Pressure and Stress:

 

Pressure

Stress

Definition according to Dictionary.com

  • The state of being pressed or compressed.
  • Harassment; oppression: the pressures of daily life.
  • A constraining or compelling force or influence: the social pressures of city life; financial pressure.
  • Urgency, as of affairs or business: He works well under pressure.
  • Physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension: Worry over his job and his wife's health put him under a great stress. Synonyms: anxiety, burden, pressure, oppression; effort, exertion, struggle, strain.
  • A situation, occurrence, or factor causing this: The stress of being trapped in the elevator gave him a pounding headache.

Implication

Positive or negative

Negative

Advantages

Makes demands, challenges, makes us strive to achieve something, maybe even in a particular time frame

No Advantages

Disadvantages

May put too much pressure leading to stress and exhaustion.

Tension, negative impact on mental and physical health

Examples

I was under pressure to complete this project by tomorrow, so I stayed up all night working on it. I can’t believe how well it turned out. 

I was so stressed out about the meeting today, that I didn’t sleep at all last night. I couldn’t even eat.

Image Courtesy: economics.mrwood.com.au, blogs.thenews.com.pk

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