Are you addicted to stress?

Stress is a genuine and serious mental health condition that will likely affect everyone at some point in their lives. The NHS has seen a rise in people presenting with stress and doctors are now trained to look out for signs and keep on top of treatment advice….

So it would seem an odd idea that someone could get hooked on being stressed out. Here are 10 signs to look out for…

It sounds crazy, counter-intuitive, even. It’s as if your brain is playing a trick on you. Stress releases cortisol – it’s our body’s stress response, the fight or flight hormone. But at the same time, it also releases dopamine, the hormone that activates the reward centre in the brain and tricks us into repeating behaviours. So, while it can exhaust us and make us sick, stress also has a nasty habit of becoming a nasty habit.

At its simplest, people can make themselves busy to avoid the same uncomfortable emotions that others will drink to avoid. And what’s worrying, stress addicts can go unnoticed. After all, it’s good to busy, right? It’s a sign that you’re hard-working, committed, responsible. But they’re just as vulnerable as any other addict.

Physically, stress addiction can cause high blood pressure, heart problems, acne, IBS, hair loss and burnout. And emotionally, stress addicts will remain stuck until they pause and deal with all those underlying feelings they’ve been ignoring. So, what are they signs you need to look out for?

  1. Are you constantly checking your phone? Do you keep it by your bed, check it last thing at night and first thing in the morning?
  2. Do you check your inbox outside office hours and reply to emails straight away?
  3. Your relationships suffer because you don’t pay them much attention?
  4. You’ve forgotten what makes you happy.
  5. You complain about being stressed, but your moaning can also sound like bragging. It’s important everyone knows just how busy you are.
  6. You’ve forgotten how to do nothing. You avoid rest and relaxation at all costs. You never seem to have free time.
  7. You have a tough time switching off. You don’t sleep well. Your mind ruminates on everything you think you need to do.
  8. You say yes to every invite. You’ve convinced yourself that you need to push yourself and do better (more).
  9. Friends and family tell you to slow down and that just irritates you. In fact, quite a bit irritates you these days. Your fuse is getting shorter and shorter…
  10. You tell yourself that all your hard work will get rewarded. The pay-off is going to be worth it. For now, though, you have to keep going. Or do you?

If your body and your mind are begging for a break, maybe it’s time you paused, closed your laptop, put your phone down and made that lifestyle change. It’s time you did a new kind of work – therapeutic work. Get some professional help to guide you out of the rut you’ve found yourself in.

Does this resonate with you? If so, get in touch

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