Are you a stress addict?I am a recovering stress addict.
I used to derive a weird enjoyment and pride in saying things like “I’m so busy” or “I’m stressed.”
Somehow, being under stress made me feel important and in-demand because I had a lot of things in my hands.
How do you know if you’re a stress addict? I’ve noticed common symptoms that I’ve seen in myself and in most people.
- are slaves to their planners, cellphones, PDAs and / or laptops. They carry them around all the time and can’t imagine life without them.
- obsess over ticking every item in their to-do list. And when they finally accomplish one, they make more lists to obsess over.
- skip meals because they have a lot of work to do.
- sleep late because they have a lot of work to do.
- bring home work because they feel they need to chase after every deadline everywhere they are.
- do everything themselves because “I’m the only one who can do it.”
- don’t allow themselves to be bored.
- feel they always have to have something to do.
- make a big deal out of everything.
- worry too much about anything and everything.
Have you seen any of these symptoms in yourself? If you answered yes to more than 5, if not to all these characteristics, then I think you’re most likely a stress addict.
Of course, later on, I began to hate stress. I knew it was causing me to age prematurely (oh the wrinkles and breakouts!) not to mention the damage to my emotional health.
But I found out that getting rid of stress addiction was not going to be easy.
Stress causes you to accumulate destructive habits over the years that become deeply ingrained in your subconscious. Stress seems to automatically take over your life and you can’t help but keep on doing the same stress-inducing things over and over.
How do you deal?
Just like drugs or alcohol addiction, stress addiction may seem too difficult to overcome.
But unlike substance addiction where you can run to various drug and alcohol rehabs for treatment, stress can only be treated effectively by one person: YOU.
How? Reverse the 10 signs stated above.
- Master the use of your planners, cellphones, PDAs and / or laptops. These gadgets are supposed to make your life easier not harder. Spend less time with these entrapments and find ways to “get rid” of them on a regular basis. I tried it for a week and it felt so liberating.
- Accept the fact that the items on your to-do lists may not all be ticked at one time. Besides, your list will keep on adding up anyway as your work progresses so there may always be items that are unchecked. Instead, congratulate yourself for those that you’ve accomplished and let that motivate you to continue your productivity.
- Eat meals on time and enjoy them without disturbances. Food is your body’s fuel. When you run empty, you will soon conk out and the less productive you’ll be.
- Get enough sleep. Your body can only take so much abuse. And if it doesn’t make you pay now, it will, sooner or later.
- Leave work at work. In the bigger scheme of things, not beating a deadline won’t kill you. But bringing home work can be deadly to your relationships with your family.
- Learn how to delegate because the truth is there are other people who can do it, maybe even better than you.
- Allow yourself to be bored sometimes. It actually allows your mind to rest from all the running and pacing it does throughout your lifetime.
- Find time to do nothing. Just empty your mind and be still. This can be challenging at first especially when you’re so used to being busy. But it can benefit you tremendously.
- Richard Carlson said it best, “Don’t sweat the small stuff…. and it’s all small stuff.”
- Set yourself free from worry. The more you worry about something bad happening, you not only stress yourself unnecessarily, you also make that worry a reality. Remember that in the end, everything will work out just fine.
Just try to go through these steps one by one, one day at a time.
It’s definitely going to be a challenge to rehab your stress addiction especially when the people around you seem to “thrive” on it over and over.
But if you really set your mind to eliminate your stress, you’ll be amazed at how much it can change your life for the better.
Remember that having very little or no stress doesn’t make you less important or less of an achiever.
It only means you’ve taken control of your life and your time, and you choose to be your own master.