The Power of Pain, Stress and Pressure to Transform your Family


Are you feeling a ton of PRESSURE in your life?

Are you aware that there is actually an Upside of Stress? (Which is the title of a wonderful book by Kelly McGonigal.) Like so many so-called “negative” emotions, stress and pressure are critical for a healthy, successful life. Yes, I truly meant to say that pain, pressure and stress are critical for a healthy, successful life.

We human beings are actually stress handling machines. We have many adaptations that enable us to take stress and pressure, and make the equivalent of diamonds. Diamonds are formed only after tremendous pressure turns carbon, which also makes coal, into the stone that is almost universally admired. No pressure, no stress or pain (at least discomfort)? No diamond.

Pain in all its forms is meant to be a tool to move us to make changes in our lives. Pain is meant to signal what is wrong. That signal is critical to motivating us to make things better. Without pain, many amazing things would not happen. Stress and pressure both cause some discomfort and/or sometimes full on pain.

There’s a reason why so many people perform better with the pressure of a deadline! Those of you who abhor deadlines and avoid them at all costs, may want to reconsider this strategy. You may be much less happy and successful because you don’t have this powerful, albeit uncomfortable, tool working for you.

Can you see some areas of your life where MORE pressure would be better? For example do you work out enough? Are you needing help with following through on a parenting change you’ve wanted to make with your family? What else would you like to do less or more of, but without pressure, are finding it hard to change? (One of many ways to make a change is to get an accountability partner, as then you feel the pain of telling them you haven’t done what you said you’d do. There are many other ways to harness this tool!)

The cold hard truth is we are naturally hard wired to move AWAY from pain. Much as we all like to think that we’ll move towards pleasure, we wouldn’t have survived as a species if we didn’t put pain as a priority. Pressure is not the bad guy. It’s how we see and respond that makes the difference.

For example, you have reached out for parenting help and are reading this tip BECAUSE you felt pressure to address some issue in your family, right? You may have even been in a considerable amount of pain. You may have felt the tension between how you want to be as a parent, and the daily battles to get out the door on time without yelling or punishing your kids. The stress of things not going well resulted in you making a positive choice to search for and read this information.

If you don’t understand the value of pain, you may move to reduce it without using its incredible power to move us into action. I’d like you to think of how to decrease the pain by using it to get you into action. If parenting is causing you pain, one way of reducing it is to decide you don’t care, or that all kids are like this nowadays, etc. Or you can use the fact that you aren’t yet the parent you want to be, to propel you to make long-term changes for the better.

Pain is not the enemy. What you do with it is!

I’ll talk more about how to manage pain, and about stress, in the next tip. Until then, I want to hear from you about how this new perspective on pain, is helping you. Share your thoughts on our Facebook page, or email me via

Love and light to you!

Oh, I just thought of the perfect ending. May the force be with you! Don’t you love how that takes on a new meaning now?