The Whole You
Can you be addicted to stress?
By Wendy Humphris, ROHP
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.
THE STRESS COURSE ~ HABITS, MINDSET, SOUL, & BODY
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Wendy Humphris, ROHP
I’m a holistic nutritionist and I transform health for a living.