As you were ready to get to work, you accidentally pour coffee on your best suit and need to get changed. Not only is the suit potentially ruined, but you are now late for work. It’s not a good day for you. Things only get worse when one of your clients calls you unexpectedly to cancel his large order. As a result, you get into a screaming contest with a co-worker. Finally, 5 PM can’t come early enough. You leave work, still shaking with stress, but knowing that you’ve got the best solution to relieve your anxiety. Or have you?
Stress is, unfortunately, a universal experience. Everybody has a stressful day from time to time. However, the strategy you choose to deploy to eliminate your stress might be counterproductive. In fact, every year, more and more people suffer from health troubles as a consequence of their stress-relief solution. Here is a list of the 8 worse anti-stress habits that are not only stressful but can also make you sick.
Just a bit of screen time to chill out
So, you’re ready to relax for the evening. You’ve turned the TV on, and you’re sat on the sofa, with a bag of popcorn and a hot drink. Sounds like the perfect plan to forget about your worries? There’s nothing wrong with a bit of screen time in the evening, whether you choose to watch TV or to check your social media accounts. However, you need to remember that the more time you spend in front of a screen, the more difficult it will be for you to sleep. Indeed, the majority of electronics emit of blue light which impacts on your sleeping cycles. If you don’t let your body reset itself before going to bed, you might find yourself unable to fall asleep… which means that you’re more likely to check your phone more often and to grow nervous throughout the night. Besides, poor sleep makes you more responsive to stressful situations, so turn off the TV before you end up in a vicious circle.
I just need to party
It might seem like a good idea to make the most of the happy cocktail hour to drown the memories of your day. But unfortunately, alcohol can rapidly become an addiction, so that you will need to consume more to silence the stress. However, drinking doesn’t relieve stress; it only creates a routine that forces your brain to “need” alcohol to cope. Gradually, you might find yourself not able to spend a day without drinking. If this is the case, take a look at this guide to quitting alcohol. Remember that the more you drink, the least resilient to stress your body becomes.
I deserve a treat after this day
Similar to the daily drink, it’s not uncommon to develop an eating habit. Some people turn to food to overcome stressful events. However, you can develop an unhealthy reward habit as a form of emotional response to stress. If the day was bad, you think you’ve earned a donut or a slice of cake to feel better. In reality, no amount of sugar is going to take the stress away. The rush doesn’t last, and you’ve got to eat another donut to be “happy” again. Don’t let emotional eating consume you!
It will all go away if I ignore it
If you tend to box your stress away and ignore it, you need to stop. Stressful situations don’t go away simply because you choose to look the other way. However, the health damages can be significant. From cardiovascular diseases to diabetes, ignoring the reason for your stress can kill you. Stress is a recognized health condition caused by an event that is overwhelming. Deal with the situation if you want to relax.
I know what will help: A shopping trip
Another common form of reward to stress is shopping. In fact, more than half of Americans have engaged in retail therapy to deal with a stressful situation. However the majority have regretted their impulse purchases. In fact, shopping while stressed might feel like instant happiness, but your bank account will be quick to disagree. The more you shop, the more you’ll get stressed… which naturally will lead to more shopping. You know the saying: Money doesn’t make you happy. And it doesn’t help you to relax either.
It’s ok, I self-medicate
It’s not uncommon to look for soothing remedies against your anxiety. However, more often than not, these remedies may not be legal. From teenagers who turn to weed against stress to the consumption of hard substances, it’s easy to lose control of these addictive fake reliefs. Self-medication might create dangerous addictive behaviors which can aggravate a stressful situation by isolating you from your social community.
I’m too stressed to think about food
There are two types of emotional eating. More often than not, people assume that emotional eating is consuming too much food to cope. However, it could also be the opposite. If you find that you can’t eat when you’re dealing with a stressful situation, then you’re letting a biological reaction dictate your response to stress. In the long term, you risk experiencing serious weight loss. Additionally, skipping meals will impacts on your biological functions, as your body lacks essential nutrients. Don’t let stress starve you. You need to force yourself to eat so that your body is strong enough to fight.
I’ll just go for a run
If you choose to exercise to relieve stress, then you’re choosing one of the healthiest solutions. However, if you need to hit the gym daily, your body might be OD’ing on sports. As a result, you may suffer from elevated soreness and mood disturbances. Additionally, constant exercise can increase your heartbeat and even cause chest pain. It’s a sign that you need to slow down and have a rest day. These symptoms are the signs that you can have too much of a good thing. If you need to run every day after work, maybe it’s time to consider switching job.
The body has mysterious ways of dealing with emotional distress. That’s precisely why it’s crucial that you talk to a doctor to find the best path to quit bad stress-relieving habits and build a more mindful approach to stressful life situations.