Lifestyle stressors.

We often engage in negative behaviors with the intent of stress reduction. But, those very behaviors we think are helpful for coping, those negative coping behaviors, actually increase stress in our lives. Check out these negative coping/stress adding behaviors versus stress reducing behaviors.

Stress inducing behaviors…

  • Tobacco (smoking/chewing)
  • Caffeine – more than 2-3 cups per day
  • Alcohol – more than 1-2 glasses per day
  • Overuse of over-the-counter medications
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Spending too much money
  • Too much television – more than 3-4 hours per day
  • Having angry outbursts
  • Using drugs
  • Withdrawing from people
  • Ignoring/denying stress symptoms
  • Engaging in self-destructive relationships

Stress relieving behaviors…

  • Physical activity – 30 minutes, 3 days a week recommended
  • Sleep – 6-8 hours each night
  • Healthy eating habits
  • Relaxation
  • Maintain a sense of humor
  • Maintain healthy rituals and routines
  • Be optimistic – engage in positive thinking
  • Spend time with family
  • Spend time with friends
  • Make plans for future
  • Figure out positive ways to manage stress
  • Reward yourself for your accomplishments

It can be easy to think that glass of wine or eating too much is helping you to feel better, but it is not. Alcohol will negatively impact your sleep (even if you think it is helping you sleep, it is not)! You will be less efficient tomorrow. Your stress will be higher because you are not as sharp as you could be. You are more irritable. And by the end of the day, you are again making negative choices, such as more alcohol, poor food choices, no exercise, too much TV, and on and on. This cycle only worsens every day until your mood is incredibly low, you completely lack motivation, your self-worth is lowered, and you feel you will never reach your goals.

As hard as it can be to do the positive coping when we feel drained and stressed, it absolutely will create a positive chain reaction when you do!! Try to replace as many of those negative behaviors as you can! Small steps could lead you to a tremendous lifestyle change!

Related post… Stress/Distress

Related post… Coping

Related post… Coping with food

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