If you are someone that seems to be always stressed out and is constantly looking for more to add to your plate instead of managing the stress you already have, you might be an addict.
It seems silly to be addicted to something that can make you feel overwhelmed and downright miserable, but this is often linked to being overworked, being a perfectionist, and having the thought that the more you try to accomplish, the better off you will be.
Keep reading to learn more about stress, how it can be an addiction, and what you can do about it.
What Being Addicted to Stress Looks Like
It can often be hard to determine if you are addicted to stress, especially if you are used to being in a stressed state a large amount of the time. For people with chronic stress, it is very difficult to determine when your stress is a problem, and when it is something you might be seeking out.
Here are some common signs that you might be addicted to stress
Never having any free time
To start with, if you feel like you never have free time, you might be addicted to stress. Even people who are incredibly busy most of the time and have a busy schedule, still have at least a little free time. If you have absolutely any free time 7 days a week, it is more likely that you are seeking more things out to fill your schedule.
Constantly packing your schedule
Similarly, you might be constantly looking for more to fill your schedule with. Maybe you notice that when you have a day off over the weekend, you almost look for more to do. You offer to help others, you add on more tasks to the task you are already working on, you try to learn something new.
There is nothing wrong with working hard and getting ahead in your life, but there is something wrong with feeling like you have to. This is a big sign that you could be addicted to the stress and overwhelm that a busy life brings you.
Being bored when you have nothing to do
For those rare occasions when you have nothing to do and no plans, are you bored? Do you struggle with what to do with your time? Do you feel uneasy when you have free time? This could be another sign of being addicted to the stress.
Feeling more accomplished when you are busier
You might be someone who feels more accomplished the busier you are. That somehow lack of sleep and 80-hour work weeks and never having time for friends and family just means you are working harder than them, dreaming big, and being more accomplished. This is not a healthy attitude to have. As a human being, you need rest, both for your mind and your body.
Being Used to the Feeling of Overwhelm
This is a sign that doesn’t seem like a problem, but can be one of the worst of all. If you spend so much of your time stressed out and overwhelmed, you might not even realize the stress anymore. You get used to it, you become accustomed to that feeling of unease, you are adapted to the mental and physical signs of stress.
This is likely from your addiction as not only are you continuing to add more to your schedule, but you aren’t doing anything about the stress you are already living with.
How to Get a Handle on Your Stress Addiction
If any of this sounds like you, now is a good time to handle the stress addiction. You first need to come to terms with the fact that you are dealing with chronic stress and that you might be seeking it out. You need to understand that everyone needs a break and that stress is common, but not normal.
The next steps include working to reduce your stress in simple ways. This can be something as small as saying no to one thing this week, or having at least a few hours a week of free time, then work up to a day and then an entire weekend.
Make small changes, and you will notice the difference very quickly.
I would love to give you a free resource sheet to support your quest for a healthy mindset. Click the button below to receive your gift.
I really wanted to talk about this topic today because I wanted to share some lifestyle-based strategies to improve your overall mindset and mental health, which in turn improves your life. You must do the internal work to improve your overall health. You can do this by learning what motivates you and working each day on improving your mindset. Your thoughts control your feelings, which controls your behavior. You can cultivate certain behaviors and practices that will not only enrich your life, but that you can pass on to your family, friends, and community, so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
If you are familiar with my approach, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle modifications, such as stress reduction and mindfulness exercises, can help you feel better about yourself and your life. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy.
Tools For Motivation And Mindset
Although you don’t need a cushion to meditate, you may want to consider using one at some point. You could meditate in a chair, or simply sit on the floor if you want. You can also use pillows or cushions from your furnishings to try out. Cushion, chair, bench, floor – it’s all good. Eventually, though, if you’re not sitting upright on a chair, you’ll probably do well to buy a dedicated meditation cushion. The cushion will support your sitting posture and help you create an appealing mindfulness corner that will encourage you to practice every day. I recommend this meditation cushion and mat bundle.
If you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea. Even if you don’t have these conditions, journaling can enhance your life in many ways. Having difficulty processing your thoughts and emotions? Journaling can help clear that mental clutter and move towards a positive mindset. Research suggests that keeping a journal can have positive impacts on both mental and physical health. So, to start you on your journey, I recommend this self care journal.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, meditation and mindfulness, as well as healthy and supportive relationships are the best ways to support mental health. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
PPS. If you or someone you know is experiencing severe stress, anxiety, depression and/or other mental health issues, please contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889. This is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
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