Speaker: Alimah S. Ahmed

Write-up: ummi taalib

This excellent workshop was on how to deal with pressures living in a modern world where pressures have increased many fold compared to the past, especially for women who are faced with pressures of the home as a wife and mother along with educational, career and peer pressures (which does not only affect teenagers but adults as well in universities, professions etc.).
Modern day psychologists and psychological studies show many ways of dealing with these pressures. Alimah S. Ahmed has taken five points and intertwined them with the Islamic perspective. Alhamdulillah, it was very beneficial as a solution and hope for those women seeking peace under pressure as well as showing us that the Noble Qur'an and the teachings of our beloved Nabi Muhammad sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam provided these very solutions more than 1400 years ago! InshaAllah these notes become beneficial for many even though I truly cannot do justice to the talk.

So firstly what is Pressure & Stress?

Pressureis external conditionswhich makes us feel that we have to do certain things or behave in a certain manner, meet certain deadlines or fulfil certain obligations or expectations from people or even expectations from one's self i.e. a goal or a desire. There are different levels of pressures which depend on situations, backgrounds, culture etc.

These pressures lead to stress which is the internal reaction. People may experience the same pressures yet react differently with some dealing with the situation calmly while others may feel the stress, some to a much higher degree than others.
Stress is something everyone experiences. Allah ta'ala mentions in the Qur'an that a human being cannot get except for what he strives for.

"And that man hath only that for which he maketh effort" [53:39]

A healthy level of stress is necessary to get ahead in life, be it in one's Deen (Religion) or Dunya (Worldly matters). It makes a person work harder. The problem comes with unhealthy levels of stress which leads to psychological problems such as anxiety, depression and even mental breakdowns. For some people stress leads to physical problems such as backache, shoulder pains and tense muscles.
Stress can also affect our spiritual self like our connection with Allah ta'ala, our Imaan, our tawakkul in Him etc. Finding "Peace under Pressure" is attaining this spiritual peace. The psychologists and councillors will show us various methods to de-stress however the real peace comes when one finds this connection with Allah ta'ala, one's God, one's Creator. Due to not having this understanding many people try to find ways of relieving stress through harmful ways such as drugs, drinking, fun and futile activities or releasing stress and harming those below them. For instance a head teacher may have stress and release it on the teachers who in turn release it on the students, or a woman is under pressure from her husband or boss and may not say anything to them however takes it out on her children, which is dangerous. In the long run these methods do not change the situation nor do they release the stress. The stress needs to be released in a healthy way similar to eating healthy food instead of junk food eaten to fill the hunger when food is not ready. This is not proper nourishment. Similarly unhealthy methods of releasing stress are counterproductive. Finding real peace makes us more productive and better people