There are many times we have stress in our lives however, our response can be unhealthy. Here are some Unhealthy Responses To Stress And How To Overcome Them
6 Unhealthy Responses To Stress And How To Overcome Them
Stress is a normal part of life and can even be beneficial in small doses, as it can help motivate and energize you. However, too much of it can harm your physical and mental health. Statistics show that 77% of people have unmanaged stress affecting their physical well-being. It is important to recognize when stress levels are becoming unhealthy and learn crucial steps to manage them. The discussion below highlights some unhealthy responses to stress and how to overcome each.
As the popular saying goes, ‘procrastination is the thief of time.’ If you procrastinate a lot, leaving things till the last minute, it’s best to work towards overcoming that habit. Although it may sometimes come naturally, other reasons suggest procrastination is not always an inherent trait. It can be an unhealthy response to stress, and you may find yourself at a loss on how to deal with it. When you feel stressed, it can be tempting to put off tasks and responsibilities until later. However, this can often lead to even more stress as the tasks pile up and you feel pressured. To overcome procrastination, try breaking tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks and setting specific deadlines for each. You can also challenge yourself by getting accountability partners who will help keep you in check. If you feel you’re not up to the task, finding simple ways to motivate yourself, such as listening to an inspiring podcast and making positive affirmations, can go a long way. And remember, little drops of water make a mighty ocean.
Overeating or undereating
Sometimes your stress response may alternate between overeating and undereating, depending on the state of your mind and body. Both ways are considered unhealthy responses to stress and could significantly affect your body. For example, when you turn to food to cope with stress, there is an increased risk of potential weight gain. And this could lead to diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Although comfort food may help you calm down initially, it may become an unhealthy coping mechanism if you get addicted.
On the other hand, when your stress response is appetite loss, you may be subjecting your body to constant nutrient depletion. When that happens for a while, your body relies on internal fat stores to convert to energy, resulting in rapid weight loss. Excessive weight loss may seem ideal within the stereotypes of having the perfect body image. However, there are health repercussions like iron deficiency, sagging skin, and a weakened immune system. An ideal way to overcome these unhealthy responses is to practice mindful eating and make a deliberate effort to stick to balanced meals. While doing so, remember to incorporate elements like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which will benefit your body. You can explore healthy foods with bright colors to attract you to eat. You can also make things fun by exploring creative recipes online. Remember to also stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.
Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
30% to 50% of adults have experienced insomnia at least three times in the past seventy-two months. Stress can interfere with sleep patterns and lead to insomnia or other sleep disorders. How does this happen? It all boils down to the stress hormone cortisol. High cortisol levels in your bloodstream can cause you to go into a constant state of fight or flight, as the body’s natural response to stressful and frightening situations.
However, the fight-or-flight state is supposed to last for a short while. The associated adrenaline burst prepares you for any situation requiring an instant reaction. When it goes longer than that, it creates conflict with your body’s circadian rhythm. The result becomes impacted sleep, insomnia, or other sleeping disorders. To overcome these sleep difficulties, try to establish a regular bedtime routine. Remember to relax your mind and body before bed but avoid using electronic devices like laptops, tablets, and phones. They emit blue light, which can prevent quality night sleep and distract you, causing you to spend hours on them. That, in turn, reduces the amount of time you spend sleeping. If you need to help your body unwind, consider natural alternatives such as Delta 8 gummies. You can also consider other measures, such as reading a book before bed to relax, listening to soothing music, or dimming the lights to encourage sleep. If you don’t have work the next day, you can also consider turning off your alarm so you can sleep in. A constant healthy response to stress is what you need to overcome such situations.
Isolation or withdrawal from others
Some people respond to stress by pulling away from society. While it is important to make time for yourself, it is also essential to maintain healthy social connections. These are personal networks that help provide support and ultimately contribute to reducing stress. Your trusted friends, relatives, and even work colleagues can be excellent support networks for you. When you are stressed and find yourself pulling away from the people who make you happy, it may be a cause for concern. According to a 2018 study on gradual withdrawal from society, you may not always be aware when you start withdrawing from others and isolating yourself. You may subconsciously interpret it as an effort to concentrate on things that need your attention. However, you can overcome isolation by deliberately joining support groups that focus on helping participants overcome stressful situations. You can also consider opening up to a trusted friend or family member whenever you feel alone.
Irritability and anger
49% of adults in the US say they get irritable when they feel overwhelmed with stress. Others admitted to responding in anger even when they didn’t mean to. These findings show that stress plays on your emotions and your mind. Unmanaged stress will always find outlets to come to the fore. Unfortunately, it comes out at the worst of times when you least expect it to. Uncontrolled anger and irritability can affect your relationships, leading to even further stress. It can cause your loved ones to keep their distance to avoid provoking you. Try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to overcome irritability and anger. It can also be helpful to identify the sources of your stress and find ways to manage them. If it helps, try to be deliberate on your thought processes, especially the ones that make you lose control over your emotions, so that you can work on them. Writing down how you feel or having an honest conversation with loved ones can also help you better manage your irritability or anger.
Understandably, stress can become too much at some point, causing you to relegate yourself to the back burner. It is easy to neglect your needs and well-being when you’re stressed. That is even more likely if you’re a parent, caregiver, or stressed at work. You end up giving so much of yourself to others, and the last thing that comes to mind is self-care. However, it is best to remember that your cup will get empty at some point, and there’ll be nothing to pour out. Therefore, it is crucial to continue caring for yourself even when you feel overwhelmed. You can start by setting time aside for yourself without feeling guilty. Make time for activities you enjoy and that nourish your mind and body. Exercise routines, hobbies, and spending time with loved ones can be safe ways to start self-care.