Normal life has become busy and often overwhelming for so many people and balancing work and life can become too much. The stress that we experience creates tension in the mind and body. Many people look for solutions to cope with the stress, but they sometimes choose the wrong methods. Below are five coping strategies that so many people reach for that are detrimental to managing stress and healthy alternatives to try instead.
Relying on Alcoholic Beverages
A glass of wine or a beer to relax after work can seem like an innocent act but alcohol is a depressant. It may seem like a helpful way to manage stress, but it will stimulate the brain and worsen your symptoms of stress. Alcohol makes it difficult to sleep, which makes you feel exhausted the following day and decreases the drive to be productive.
Eating Food for Comfort
Some people turn to food for comfort. The body releases the stress hormone cortisol, which can cause cravings for salty, sugary, and fatty foods. Eating also serves as a distraction and contentment in the moment. However, the feeling of satisfaction can turn into regret, even shame very quickly.
The brain is a powerful organ. It can convince you that you’re better off alone. You’re likely to back out on plans, spend substantial time alone, and dread any form of social interaction. Although avoidance can feel beneficial at first, constant isolation can cause your mental health to suffer. If stress sparked this coping mechanism, depression is likely to follow.
Negative self-talk allows anxiety and depression to thrive. Maybe you tell yourself that a mistake you made at work defines your worth and you don’t deserve a promotion. This self-talk is damaging. It causes an increased stress response, and in return, you’re likely to have prolonged feelings of stress and hopelessness.
Ample Screen Time
Stress can be debilitating, and it may cause you to spend your free time after work scrolling through your phone. Staring at a screen for hours on end might feel fun at first, but too much screen time can increase feelings of stress. You’ll feel unproductive, which can bring back the cycle of anxiety and depression.
A Quick Rundown of Positive Coping Strategies
Becoming aware of the detrimental coping strategies you use is a positive step forward. The next step is to decide what to replace them with. Here are a few suggestions. Chose one and use it until it makes a difference.
Try massages to alleviate high blood pressure and relax the body. Do regular exercise to boost endorphins. You can even meditate or practice deep breathing exercises at work whenever stress starts to settle in.
And most importantly, don’t be afraid to say no. Overexerting yourself and making too many commitments is a quick way to increase stress. Take on what you can carry and ask for help. And if you commit to one stress alleviating habit, you should hopefully find that stress doesn’t weigh too heavily on you anymore.