Are You Addicted to Stress?
Posted on November 29 2016
You may think you’re not but…
Stress, a 6-letter word that has become a mainstay in our modern-day lexicon, packs more of a punch than the most colorfully-profane language we have ever heard. And yet, we are almost numb to its impact in our lives. Our shared gripe today is that we are stressed about this and stressed about that but are we in fact so addicted to this constant state of being stressed that we have forgotten how to be in a state of, well, just being?
The most driven individuals will tell you that stress is good and motivates them to succeed in all areas of their lives. While this is certainly valid, at what point can stress become harmful to our entire well-being.
The first-step is identifying if we really are addicted to stress. Answer True or False to the statements below and see where you stand…
“It’s 5 pm. My boss gives me a new project and the deadline is tomorrow at 2:00pm. This type of project usually takes at least three days. I put aside everything to get it done.”
“I forgot my cell phone at home in the morning and cannot easily access my email and receive/make calls or send texts. I feel very anxious.”
“I have a presentation to prepare. It must be presented on Thursday morning. I will most probably get to it on Wednesday night.”
“I’d love to go out for girls’ night but I just can’t seem to find the time.”
“I feel anxious or bored when I have nothing to do or have no project to work on.”
If you answered TRUE to at least 3 of the statements, you are indeed addicted to this soul-sapping monster. Don’t feel bad, you are part of the norm, in the Western world anyway.
The first step, as with all other addictions, is admitting you have a problem. You may think you’re handling things just fine. I mean, you’re getting everything done right? You’ve found the perfect work, life, family balance, right?
You may indeed think that everything is under control and that you’re managing your stress to a tee. But news flash… getting everything done on your to-do list is not an indicator of good management. The truth is, if your to-do list is never-ending and leaves no time for recharging your battery, then it is an indicator or pure addiction to constant chaos.
Why You Need to Start Managing Your Stress and How…
Stress has a negative impact on your health both physically and mentally. It can lead to a plethora of issues such as panic attacks, depression, anxiety, hypertension, ulcers, brain cell loss, migraines…to name just a few.
So finding ways to break this addiction to stress is absolutely crucial. Implementing the following practices is a step in the right direction…
Okay, I can feel you hyperventilating already. If going a whole day without using your cell, tablet or computer seems too much of a leap, start with an hour, then increase the time gradually. Personally, I’ve deemed Sunday to be my Device-Free Day. I’m not saying I’m never tempted but I just keep reminding myself and eventually, I forget I even have these devices.
Yes, I know it’s hard to even think about sitting down to relax because you feel it’s time wasted. We need to flip that notion on its head and think of it as time invested. Being still doesn’t have to literally mean “doing nothing” but rather, doing something that calms and soothes. You could have your morning coffee on the front porch. You could meditate to some soft music. You could read or write. The key is to slowly include this practice each day until it becomes part of your daily routine.
Just Have Fun
This is highly subjective and you may be tempted to say that negotiating a contract with clients is fun but I challenge you to think outside of what you usually do. Make sure that this is social fun and is in no way business related. It’s a hot day? Pick up the kids from school early and take them for some ice cream. Organize a dinner or spa day with a close friend. Have a picnic with your better half. Can’t think of anything fun because it’s been sooo long since you’ve done anything socially fun? Sit down with a friend or your spouse and brainstorm. I guarantee you’ll come up with some great ideas in no time.
Listen, this is a fast-paced world we live in but that doesn’t mean you need to be “on” all the time. It’s time to start looking at the addictive nature of stress and start putting it in its place. Your future self and loved ones will thank you.