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The last two days we’ve looked at two aspects of emotional pressure. Both internal and external emotional pressure. The pressure exerted on yourself to perform a certain task and the pressure exerted on you from the outside world to just get over it.” 

But what really IS pressure?

There are two definitions for the word “pressure.” The first one is “the continuous physical force exerted on or against an object by something in contact with it.”

In it’s most simple formula, pressure is as follows:

Pressure = Force / Area. Or the amount of force applied to an area.

But it’s not that simple. It all depends on what KIND of force and what KIND of area we’re looking at. There’s fluid pressure, explosive pressure, negative pressure, stagnation pressure, surface pressure, vapor pressure, kinetic pressure…the list goes on and on. What kind of pressure we’re talking about can drastically change the outcome of the equation.

Fluid pressure is calculated with the following equation:

I’m sorry… Excuse me? WHAT?!?!

I’ve never been good a math. In college I failed Intro to College Math. Yea, that’s right: I failed.

I *LOVE* science. I am a lover and cheerleader of science. The exploration of space and time. The discovery of the Higgs Boson  made me dance in my computer chair! I had been following CERN for some time hoping and praying they would succeed and when they did I was so happy I cried out in joy! “Congratulations!” I posted on facebook. “How exciting!!”

The amount of pressure needed to even FIND the Higgs Bosen is staggering. Indeed in order to appreciate its significance we have to understand this equation:

I’m sorry. I quit. Just. Just no. There is too much pressure in that equation!

So, let’s forget about the Higgs, shall we? I’v digressed from the topic.

Pressure is all around us. Right now, you are experiencing several kinds of physical pressure. The pressure of the air around you, the pressure of your hand on the mouse, the pressure of your body siting in your chair, the pressure of your clothes (assuming you are wearing any). Perhaps you have a cup of coffee next to you. You pick it up, your hand is exerting pressure on the cup, and the cup is exerting pressure on your hand at the same time. You take a drink. The liquid exerts pressure on your tongue and then down your throat and into your stomach. The coffee continues through your body until it become urine. The urine stores up until is exerts a pressure in your bladder signalling that you have to use the bathroom.

Now you’re thinking about using the bathroom. You’re wondering, when was the last time I went to the bathroom? Do I have to use the bathroom now?

But you don’t process that entire question to yourself. Your brain processes those thoughts so fast that you’ve made up your mind whether or not you have to use the bathroom before you have enough time to think those words.

You exert a pressure on the floor when you walk to the bathroom, and the floor exerts a pressure back to your feet. That pressure exerted on your feet travels through your nerves and to your brain signaling that you’ve taken a step and that it’s time to take another. You don’t go about your day thinking “right foot, left foot.” You just DO it!

You have an itch on your arm. You scratch it. You exert a pressure onto your skin. That pressure sends a signal to your brain that tells it the itch is being scratched and then sends a feeling of satisfaction that your itch has been scratched, thus removing the pressure of the itch. (You’re scratching your arm now aren’t you?) You don’t think “I have a itch, I’m going to scratch it. I’m scratching. I’m done scratching. My itch is gone.” You just DO it! 

You’re breathing. Air pressure builds up in your lungs when you take a breathe in. You don’t think about breathing. You don’t go around all day thinking “breathe in, breath out.” You just DO it.

Pressure is all around you! You don’t think about the pressure around you being pressure because it’s just part of living. It’s natural. It’s the unnatural pressure that really gets our attention.

You’re walking to the bathroom again, only this time you stub your toe on the way. You now forget the pressure in your bladder signaling you that you have to use the bathroom, you now focus on the pressure on your toe. You probably grab your foot and shout some form of expletive signaling you’ve just stubbed your toe and it hurts. Your significant other hears you shout this expletive and comes to see if you are alright. They see you holding your foot and instantly know exactly what happened. You don’t have to explain that you stubbed your toe, they know from previous experience and immediately know what it feels like to stub your toe.

Our brains are remarkable pieces of technology, aren’t they? They store so much information and process that information so quickly we don’t even realize they are doing it until it’s done!

And now, in the course of reading this, you thought about getting a cup of coffee, if you have to pee or not and probably scratched an itch on your arm. I bet you have to pee now.

No pressure.

This post has been submitted to January 2014 NaBloPoMo. NaBloPoMo is a month-long challenge to post once a day on your blog, hosted by Blogher. Each month has its own theme. January’s theme is “pressure.”

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