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How to Deal with Pressure in Chinese Posted by on May 21, 2018 in Vocabulary

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We live in a world overruns by stress. Technology made us healthier, stronger, and smarter, but human advancement has its side effects. The air is more polluted, the food is less nutritious, and we are always accessible, flooded with noise and information. No wonder 压力 (yālì), meaning “pressure” or “burden”, has become a commonly used word in Mandarin.

压力 is a noun and as such can be the subject in a sentence. For example:

  • 压力是健康的敌人。

Yālì shì jiànkāng de dírén.

Stress is the enemy of health.

  • 当面对压力时,有的人喝得更多,有的人吃得更都。

Dāng miàn duì yālì shí, yǒu de rén hē dé gèng duō, yǒu de rén chī dé gèng dōu.

When facing stress, some people drink more, others eat more.

  • 适当的压力是有益的,但是过多的压力就会有害你的健康了。

Shìdàng de yālì shì yǒuyì de, dànshì guò duō de yālì jiù huì yǒuhài nǐ de jiànkāngle.

Proper pressure can be beneficial, but excessive stress can be detrimental to your

health.

 

There are no conjugations in the Chinese language. The different uses of the word 压力 are created by adding other words in proximity to the noun. Putting the verb 有 (yǒu, means “to have”), for example, before the word 压力 creating the phrase有压力. 有压力 (yǒu yālì) means “to be stressed out”. For example:

  • 我任何时候都不会觉得仓促或者有压力。

Wǒ rènhé shíhòu dōu bù huì juédé cāngcù huòzhě yǒu yālì.

I never feel rushed or stressed.

  • 你是不是一有压力就想大吃特吃披萨或巧克力呢?

Nǐ shì bùshì yī yǒu yālì jiù xiǎng dà chī tè chī pīsà huò qiǎokèlì ne?

Don’t you feel like gorge on pizza or chocolate whenever you feel stressed?

 

To describe an anxious situation in Chinese you can use the adjective 大 (dà, means “big”) in proximity to the word 压力. Adverbs like 很 (hěn, means “very”), 太 (tài, means “too”), etc, can be added as well. We don’t actually measure up the pressure, the word 大 is simply indicating that this position putting people under pressure.

  • 学校压力很大,大得令我常常想哭。

Xuéxiào yālì hěn dà, dà de lìng wǒ chángcháng xiǎng kū.

School pressure is so great that I frequently feel like crying.

  • 现代人生活压力大,有时觉得忙到喘不过气来了。

Xiàndài rén shēnghuó yālì dà, yǒushí juédé máng dào chuǎn bùguò qì láile.

Modern life pressure is too big, sometimes I’m too busy to breath.

  • 如果你觉得自己充满了焦虑,而且经常会觉得头痛,那么就说明你的压力过大了。

Rúguǒ nǐ juédé zìjǐ chōngmǎnle jiāolǜ, érqiě jīngcháng huì juédé tóutòng, nàme jiù

shuōmíng nǐ de yālì guo dàle.

If you feel anxious, and often have headaches, it indicates that you are too stressed out.

 

In English, we say “to put someone under pressure”. In Chinese we use different verbs – the phrase 带给 (dài gěi), for instance. 带means “to bring”, and 给 as preposition means “to”. A shorter way is to use only the last character of this phrase – the verb 给 (gěi, means “to give”). The pattern is: someone/something + 带给/ 给 + someone + 压力. Literally translated to: a person or a situation brings or gives pressure to someone.

  • 孤独带给我们痛苦和压力。

Gūdú dài gěi wǒmen tòngkǔ hé yālì.

Loneliness causes pain and stress.

  • 美国制裁给朝鲜增大压力。

Měiguó zhìcái gěi cháoxiǎn zēng dà yālì.

U.S. sanctions have put more pressure on North Korea.

 

In this stressful environment, we find ways to relax. Some people work out, other engage in a hobby, or speak to a close friend. No matter which way, the goal is the same: to reduce the stress. Chinese verbs you can use when talking about reducing 压力 are: 减轻 (jiǎnqīng, means “to reduce”), 减少 (jiǎnshǎo, also means “to reduce”), 缓解 (huǎnjiě, means “to alleviate”), 释放 (shìfàng, means “to release”). For example:

  • 一个释放压力的方法就是说出或写出来你的担忧。

Yīgè shìfàng yālì de fāngfǎ jiùshì shuō chū huò xiě chūlái nǐ de dānyōu.

One way to relieve stress is to say or write down your concerns.

  • 他听音乐以缓解一下工作的压力。

Tā tīng yīnyuè yǐ huǎn jiè yīxià gōngzuò de yālì.

He listens to music to ease the pressure of work.

  • 为减轻压力,最好的办法是享受按摩的乐趣。

Wèi jiǎnqīng yālì, zuì hǎo de bànfǎ shì xiǎngshòu ànmó de lèqù.

The best way to reduce stress is to enjoy the pleasure of massage.

  • 他们提供了对这个项目的支持而减少了我的压力。

Tāmen tígōngle duì zhège xiàngmù dì zhīchí ér jiǎnshǎole wǒ de yālì.

The support they provided me in this issue eased my pressure.

 

Although pressure surrounds us, we shouldn’t give in to it. 屈服 (qūfú) is a verb meaning “to give in”, and the conjunctions used with it are 于 (yú, means “to”), 在 (zài, means “at”), and 向 (xiàng, means “to”). The conjunction must precede the noun 压力, but the verb 屈服 can precede or follow the noun. The pattern is: subject + (屈服) + 于/在/向 + 压力 + (屈服).

  • 我们绝不向压力屈服。

Wǒmen jué bù xiàng yālì qūfú.

We definitely won’t give in to pressure.

  • 政府屈服于公众压力。

Zhèngfǔ qūfú yú gōngzhòng yālì.

The government yielded to public pressure.

  • 他屈服在压力之下。

Tā qūfú zài yālì zhī xià.

He buckled under the pressure.

 

The following sentences conclude some new vocabulary we’ve learned today. Read the sentences and mark the new words:

父母给的压力太大,要怎么承受?

Fùmǔ gěi de yālì tài dà, yào zěnme chéngshòu?

你了解了为什么你有压力,你的压力从哪里来。

Nǐ liǎojiěle wèishéme nǐ yǒu yālì, nǐ de yālì cóng nǎlǐ lái.

如何看待父母带给孩子的压力?

Rúhé kàndài fùmǔ dài gěi háizi de yālì?

面对要求其道歉的压力越来越大,他会屈服吗?

Miàn duì yāoqiú qí dàoqiàn de yālì yuè lái yuè dà, tā huì qūfú ma?

我们要体谅他的难处,别给他太大的压力。

Wǒmen yào tǐliàng tā de nánchu, bié gěi tā tài dà de yālì.

女生响应他说:你这样只会带给我无形的压力。

Nǚshēng xiǎngyìng tā shuō: Nǐ zhèyàng zhǐ huì dài gěi wǒ wúxíng de yālì.

Keep calm and keep practicing!

 

好好学习天天向上



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Comments:

  1. Peter Simon:

    Dear Ayana,

    An interesting and interesting type of post, quite a rare but important angle at the language. However, your use of EN is sometimes wrong. I’d like to call your attention to some of the more glaring ones if you don’t mind.

    “We live in a world overruns by stress” – correctly: ‘a world overrun by stress’, as this is the part participle form needed.

    “Technology made us healthier,…” – correctly: ‘has made us…’ without a time adverb.

    “Don’t you feel like gorge on pizza…” – correctly: ‘feel like gorging…’

    “I’m too busy to breath” – corr.: ‘to breathe’ as ‘breath’ is what you take when you breathe – the first is a noun form, the second the verb you need for your infinitive.

    “Some people work out, other engage in…” – corr: ‘others engage’ bec. the first noun in your sentence is plural (some people), so this one must be one too, otherwise you’d have to say ‘another one engages…’

    “The support they provided me in this issue…” is correctly: ‘provided to me on this issue’.

    “We will definitely won’t give in to pressure.” I hope it’s enough if I just point out that this is wrong, you’ll see why yourself. But the two sentences following it are to be in the present perfect tense because there are no times stated there, just as above.

    Please don’t stress yourself out about these mistakes, just keep working on your English. And keep the good work about Chinese!


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