Dealing with Stress the WRONG Way

Are you dealing with stress the wrong way?

Stress. It’s bad for our health. But here’s how NOT to deal with it. Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain.

Stress is so bad for our health. It can affect our bodies and our minds, causing symptoms as diverse as headaches, depression and weight loss or gain. Worse than that, it can push us into making poor decisions and doing things that we probably wouldn’t do were we not stressed.

Dealing with stress the wrong way is really quite common, but it is to be avoided at all costs if you want to come out of the other side in good shape. With that in mind, here are some example of how people deal with stress the WRONG way:

Drinking to Excess

There’s nothing wrong with having a little drink to unwind now and again, but if you start medicating your stress by drinking regularly and to excess you have a problem. Alcohol’s effects on your brain can be serious and can cause a whole host of problems, including depression and addiction. Anyway, it won’t actually get rid of your stress. Sure, you might feel a bit better for a little while, but when you wake up in the morning hungover, dehydrated and late for work, your stress is just going to be greater than it was before you picked up that glass.

Smoking

Many people who’ve successfully quit smoking in the past, take it up again when they’re feeling stressed out. This is obviously a very bad idea – you just have to look at the effects of smoking to see that –and it won’t work. You’ll still be just as stressed out when you’re smoking that cigarette as you were before. The only reason why people feel calmer after smoking is because they have a nicotine addiction and by smoking, they’re satisfying that craving. If you’ve given up smoking long ago, you won’t feel that effect, and you will have poisoned your body for no good reason.

Eating Too Much

She overeats when she's stressed out

Overeating is a common response to stress but it isn’t a healthy one. Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Emotional eating and stress go hand in hand for many people, but it really isn’t a good idea to up your junk food intake, or your calorie intake when you’re feeling stressed out. For one thing, eating too much will put more stress on your body as your blood pressure rises and you start to feel the negative effects of excess, and if you start to gain weight, you’ll probably end up feeling even worse about that. I know sometimes it’s hard to stop overeating when you’re stressed, but you really must try hard to break the habit and maintain a healthy diet, perhaps by joining a support group for overeaters, if you want to make positive progress with your health. It really is very important.

Pretend It Isn’t Happening

Stress is like any other health issue, and as such, you really should not ignore it. If you have any hope of dealing with your stress in a healthy way and regaining your mental equilibrium, you need to accept that you have a problem, seek help for it and make as many positive changes in your life to lower your stress levels as you can, even if that means finding a new job or ditching your spouse. You need to put yourself first!

Seeing a doctor or psychiatrist might also be a good idea if the stress is really getting to you and you can’t see a way through it yourself.

Doing Nothing

Something that many people who are under stress end up doing is isolating themselves and doing very little with their days. They spend all of their spare time in their PJs rewatching Friends for the millionth time or aimlessly searching the internet. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this does them no good whatsoever.

There’s nothing wrong with having the odd lazy day when you’re under mental strain, but if all your days sound like the above, then you are only going to feel worse, and your stress might even turn into depression. So, make appointments with friends, treat yourself to a spa day or sign up to a yoga class right now.

If you don’t do anything else, at least get some exercise because, although you probably won’t feel like it, it will get the adrenaline pumping and the endorphins flowing through your system, which will immediately make you feel a bit better and, if you do it regularly, a lot more relaxed.

Not Relaxing

When you’re stressed out, it should be obvious that you need to take some time out to rest and relax, but it really isn’t. So many people keep putting in 12 hours days at the office, running around after their kids 24/7 and generally not giving themselves a break. This just won’t do. I know it might not always be convenient, but taking some time out to relax, whether by meditating, reading a good book, practicing Tai Chi or doing whatever it is that makes you feel happy, will really help you to de-stress and get back to a good place. Ideally, you should spend at least one hour a day de-stressing and perhaps set aside one weekend a month to concentrate on yourself.

Saying Yes

Saying yes all the time? No wonder you're stressed.

If you know you’ll be stressed, just say no! Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

Some people have a real problem with the word ‘no.’ They just can’t seem to say it to anyone, even when what they’re being asked to do is something they would sooner avoid like the plague. If you’re one of these people, then it’s little wonder that you’re depressed. So, next time your kid’s teacher asks you to help out with an event, your kids are desperate to go to the amusement park in the next town, or your boss wants you to stay back and look over a contract, if you know it’ll make you even more stressed, just say no!

Now that you know some of the main things that might be causing your stress to worsen, or at least be preventing you from getting better, you can avoid them. I know you won’t be able to avoid everything here all of the time, but if you do your best, then you will soon see an improvement in your stress levels, which makes it all worthwhile.

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85 thoughts on “Dealing with Stress the WRONG Way

  1. I read somewhere (I do that sometimes) that there are two kinds of stress. One drives us to overcome what it is possible to overcome. The second seems to be without solution and drains our energy and confidence. Sometimes we have to put the cause out of our lives. Sometimes it is an endeavour. Sometimes it is a person.

  2. Stressful people are good business and good economy drivers.

    People spend so much money on retail therapy to comfort themselves when they are stress. Fast food, smoking and drinking, drugs, massage and spa, travel, shopping.

    Nobody really wants you to be stress-free.

    • I wonder if it is possible to be completely stress-free? Haha you’re right that if we all have no stress than certain sectors will be out of business – I never thought of it like that!

    • I remember when I was really down I used to watch a funny TV show called “Wipeout.” Your comment just reminded me of that. I hope you have a stress-free rest of your day 🙂

    • I think it’s awesome that you realize the pattern as that’s usually the hardest part. Now you can use strategies to control it, as you say. We all get off the wagon too so don’t be too hard on yourself if it happens. I tend NOT to eat when I’m stressed so we all have our things xx

  3. Such simple tips, yet we don’t remember to follow. Honestly, I haven’t even learnt to recognize what “being stressed” means – recognizing I am stressed is the first step that I fail at. Irrespective of that, we should try to follow some of these tips 🙂

  4. Again, great read Christy. “Drinking to Excess” – been there, pulled myself back. Smoking – won’t go there at present, although I’m not a stress related smoker 🙂 “Eating Too Much” – I was the opposite, I didn’t eat. Wanted to eat, but just couldn’t. “Saying Yes” – too many people are afraid to say No. When they do, the ‘listener’ if they are indeed listening doesn’t hear it. I think to ‘deal’ with stress as with anything, in a positive way, it has to come from within a person, they have to want to get themselves out of the stressful situation they may find themselves in, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

    • It sounds like you have certainly learned from the circumstances that have presented themselves around you. It’s all about coping, and some ways are healthier than others. By seeing our patterns – and facing them, that’s the hard part – we can start to change behaviors. Thanks for “thinking” with me here 🙂

  5. I will add, how a person deals with stress may be down to what type of stress a person finds themselves under, whether it be emotional, physical, mental, professional to mention but a few.

  6. I read this great book this year called *You Are Not Your Brain: The 4-Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits, Ending Unhealthy Thinking, and Taking Control of Your Life* by Jeffrey M. Schwartz, which is about reprogramming your brain using psychological techniques and neural plasticity to overcome some of these bad habits. Worth a look if you want to change yourself. ( No, I’m not on commission 🙂 )
    Nice article, Christy – thanks for sharing.
    Kindness – Robert.

    • You should be getting affiliate rates with that complimentary comment about the book 😉 For some people reading books helps, other people benefit from in-person counseling, and still other options work for people. I know someone in hypnotherapy and it’s helping her.

      • All true, Christy. 🙂
        I don’t think I’m amenable to hypnosis. I once broke my tape-player (yeah, it was that long ago) because I didn’t trust the hypnotherapy tape. I was supposed to leave it in to play while I slept, but when I woke up in the morning, the tape-player had stopped working without playing the tape.
        I reckon I’m unhypnotisable.
        What works for me is reading and trying stuff out myself. And actually, I’m almost perfect now. All I need to do is working on my humility and I’ll be there. As soon as I get hold of a book on the subject I’m sure I’ll be a natural. 😉

  7. Always nice to spend some time reading a post on your blog Christy! Which is one of the reasons I nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award 🙂
    Congratulations and keep up the good work! xx

    • It’s tough to point out what we’re doing wrong but hopefully by realizing patterns in the self that can lead to positive change. Thanks for your support ❤

  8. Pingback: Dealing with Stress the WRONG Way — When Women Inspire – healthfly@resolve4you

  9. Good read! You’re right though our society seems to have a hard time accepting that it’s ok to pay attention to what we are feeling and process our emotions. Everyone likes to walk around thinking they got this but internally they are falling apart.

  10. Pingback: From Christy @ When Women Inspire – A Peace of Life

  11. I’ve been stressing myself out over writing lately, and for some reason I just realized how counterproductive this is. I’ve already experienced some success. I need to learn to enjoy it, so I can enjoy writing again. Can’t for the life of me figure out why it took me so long to figure this out. 🙂

  12. Unfortunately for most of us, some or all of these “wrong” ways you listed are almost instinctual responses to stress. What we really need to do, instead, is take a deep breath, step away from the situation, or confide in someone, so we can discover a way to deal with or eliminate the cause of our stress. Easier said than done, I know.

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