Stress is a part of day-to-day life, but unfortunately, it can cause a host of mental and physical problems. Medical conditions such as diabetes, depression, asthma, and obesity can be worsened by stress, especially since stress compromises the immune system.
Managing stress is a must for most people, but often, it is managed in an unhealthy way. If you are currently experiencing a stressful moment in your life, don’t use any of the following ways to cope.
Unhealthy Strategies For Preventing And Managing Stress
#1. Consuming Excess Caffeine
There is nothing quite like waking up to a cup of joe in the morning, but when coffee and other caffeinated beverages become a coping mechanism, trouble can ensue.
Although caffeine can boost energy levels and improve alertness, it can also cause side effects such as irregular heartbeat, nervousness, restlessness, and irritability.
Caffeine is also considered a stimulant, and it is addictive, and it can be in coffee, tea, and soft drinks. Instead of consuming coffee and other high-caffeine drinks, try herbal tea, juice or water instead.
Smoking is arguably one of the deadliest ways to cope with stress, primarily because nicotine use has been associated heavily with lung cancer, emphysema, and a host of other deadly medical conditions.
Secondhand smoke also kills a considerable number of nonsmokers each year. Simply put, if you find yourself too stressed, try exercising or meditating instead of smoking.
Smoking is addictive, and if you find yourself unable to cope without a cigarette or tobacco product, it may be time to consider seeking professional help. A doctor can help you better weight your treatment options.
#3. Taking Your Stress Out on Others
Taking stress and anger out on others is one of the worst ways to cope. Your relationships with your friends, family members, and coworkers are important, and frequent arguments and conflicts can sour them over time.
Before you flip out on a friend or spouse, try to remember there are other coping mechanisms that are far more constructive at your disposal.
#4. Spending Too Much Money
There is nothing wrong with a bit of retail therapy here and there, but when your spending becomes out of control and debt begins to accumulate, problems can arise.
Many people attempt to buy their way out of stressful situations, and unfortunately, the debt they create inevitably causes more stress. Having too much debt has also been associated with depression, anxiety, poor concentration, and sleep deprivation.
#5. Not Getting Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep can be a challenge in today’s world, especially since there always seems to be something to do.
Drowsiness is not the only side effect of poor sleeping habits, but a lack of sleep is also associated with poor concentration, stress, obesity, irritability, and memory loss. In other words, a good night’s sleep can leave you refreshed and ready to deal with any stressors the day throws your way.
You can increase your chances of having a good night’s sleep by avoiding caffeine and sugar before bed, ensuring your room is cool and comfortable and going to bed at a reasonable time.
Overeating is a common coping mechanism in our society, especially since food is everywhere and so readily available. When most people are stressed, they reach for unhealthy high-processed, carbohydrate-laden foods that are high in calories and fat content.
Obesity is also liked to a variety of medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart attack, and certain cancers.
#7. Ignoring Stressors
Ignoring something won’t make it go away, especially when that something is stress. Accepting your situation and committing to changing it or using a healthy coping mechanism to get through the situation is the best way to tackle stress. Don’t hesitate to talk with a friend or therapist if you really need to get stress off your chest.
Getting a good night’s sleep is a great way to deal with stress, but often, individuals are tempted to sleep their way through a stressful situation.
Sleeping a problem away simply is not a good coping mechanism, especially since you will need to stay awake to attack the problem stressing you out. Try to get at least 8 hours of high-quality sleep a night and avoid oversleeping during the daytime.
Self-harming behaviors, such as cutting and burning can be dangerous to anyone, but unfortunately, many people turn to them when stressed.
If you or someone you know is experiencing high levels of stress and self-harm seems like a viable option, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional, such as a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist.
Talking about self-harm can be difficult, but it is a must if you simply can’t find any other coping mechanism.
#10. Drinking Too Much
There is nothing wrong with having a beer or a glass of wine at the end of the day to relax, but when your drinking becomes a problem, it can quickly take a toll on your body.
Alcohol is highly addictive, and when consumed in large quantities, it can impair your judgment significantly.
If you find yourself unable to stop after a few drinks, it may be time to seek the help of a professional.
Keep Stress at Bay
Overall, there are more healthy ways to cope with stress than the ten ways listed above. Stress can be overwhelming, and at times, it can seem like there is no way to get away from it.
However, by focusing on healthy coping mechanisms instead of negative ones, you can live a happy life and keep stress at bay.