If you’re a woman living in the 21st century, your world is full of stressors and using unhealthy ways to deal with stress is NOT the answer.
While a short burst of stress here and there is normal and a part of life, chronic stress is a whole other matter.
Exposure to long-term stress can alter your genes and increase inflammation in the body.
Furthermore, chronic stress can cause a wide variety of serious health issues that affect the body and mind.
Learning how to cope with stress in healthy ways is vital to reducing and managing stress.
However, some chronically stressed women use unhealthy ways to deal with stress.
Generally speaking, many may not even realize that they are doing so.
Avoid These Unhealthy Ways to Deal with Stress
For the purposes of this list, vices include drinking, smoking, and general substance abuse, including prescription drugs.
Let’s be clear: none of those unhealthy ways to deal with stress do anything to actually alleviate stress levels.
Usually when you’re under stress it may seem like that extra drink (slice of cake, or cigarette) is relaxing you and making you feel better. But… it’s not.
Unfortunately, unhealthy ways to deal with stress ONLY provide temporary relief!
In short, once it wears off you will need another hit to get that state back.
It’s more than that, though, these habits have a serious impact on your long-term health.
In fact, unhealthy ways to deal with stress increase your risk of depression, anxiety, and a host of physical diseases.
According to one study, (Chronic Stress, Drug Use, and Vulnerability to Addiction;
Rajita Sinha) women with chronic stress are at greater risk of addiction.
Falling into a cycle of unhealthy ways to deal with stress does nothing to alleviate stress.
As shown above it will only cause more problems, and more problems will mean…MORE stress, not less.
Denying There Is A Problem
Denial is not an effective stress management tool.
In fact it will cause more harm than good because ignoring your stress only makes it worse.
Managing it is the only way to properly get it under control.
There’s a difference between taking a mental health time out and avoiding stress.
You take a mental time-out by indulging in a funny movie, sharing your stresses in an online support group, or meeting friends for lunch. Those are all effective ways to cope with stress.
On the other hand, you avoiding your stress by denying that it exists and carrying on as if everything is normal. That’s one of the bad ways to deal with stress
If you ignore the issues then you won’t process them, nor will you understand why or what you are actually dealing with.
The longer you ignore it the greater the issue will get, whether it’s the emotional fear of relationship issues or a financial issue like a late credit card bill.
The best way to handle this type of situation is by putting a plan in place and acting on it to relieve your stress.
Food often serves as a crutch.
Similar to the vices we mentioned above, stress eating may provide you with relief initially. Unfortunately, it can spiral out of control quickly.
This happens because your mind (and your body) starts to associate eating with the negative emotions you experience (because that’s when you indulge) so you’re intensifying those emotions.
Do you reach for a snack every time you experience a bit of sadness, anger, or stress?
What will the result be? In one word, weight gain.
Emotional eating can:
- Trigger eight gain and obesity,
- Increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, and
- Cause a variety of gastrointestinal issues.
If you are a stress eater, read this post about how to stop stress eating when things get stressful.
Feeding The Negativity
Let me ask you this, are you the type of person that panics about losing your job after you make a small mistake?
Do you meltdown over fights with your partner worried that you’ve triggered the end of your relationship?
Lots of women immediately think of the worst-case scenario when they are experiencing particularly upsetting event.
However, you only intensify your stress levels when you blow things out of proportion.
When you feel stressed out it’s easier to look through a negative lens and feed negative self-talk.
Remedy this by changing your tone with yourself.
Start adjusting your self-talk to a tone you would use with a close friend going through the struggles.
Sadly, we are often MUCH harder on ourselves than we would be with a friend.
But shouldn’t we be our own BEST friend?!
When you are chronically stressed, you feel that there’s a void inside you that needs filling.
Unfortunately, some women make the mistake of filling it with retail therapy.
On the one hand, a small pick-me-up gift for yourself can be a soothing stress relief source of stress relief.
On the other hand, spending money on things that you don’t need or have the money to afford increase stress.
There’s a stark difference between the two! Do you see it?
Compulsive spending increases financial difficulties, which is another stressor that will only fuel your stress.
Going Into Hibernation
Ever felt like building a fort of pillows and blankets to hide behind?
I’ve actually tried it during some of the most stressful periods in my life. So I can tell you from experience that it’s not the most effective way to handle stress. But I think you already know that!
You may feel like you need to catch up on sleep but oversleeping can just fuel your exhaustion.
In fact, according to one study, (The Risks of Sleeping “Too Much”) there’s a link between oversleeping and a high BMI.
Of course, high BMI increases risks of diabetes, and heart disease.
All in all, this exacerbates the stress you are already experiencing.
Other Unhealthy Ways to Deal with Stress
- Angry or violent outbursts and abuse of others
- Not eating
- Yelling at co-workers, employees, kids, spouse or friends
- Social isolation
- Using recreational drugs or abusing mood altering prescription medication
The choice is yours!
Instead of choosing the 12 unhealthy ways to deal with stress above, why not choose these 7 healthy and effective ways instead!