Unhealthy lifestyle habits are some of the biggest stressors. You may not realize it, but some of the habits you do on a regular basis could actually be a huge contributor to your stress levels. Do you lift a cigarette to your mouth whenever you’re feeling stressed and anxious?
Or, do you turn to alcohol to help you relax? Maybe you drink more cups of coffee in a day than you should. Maybe you stay up late working to find solutions to fix whatever is causing you stress? The thing is, doing any of these can usually make your stress worse.
Stress and smoking tend to have a direct relationship with one another. For many people, having a cigarette is what they turn to when they are stressed out. They may feel that inhaling the smoke from the cigarette calms them and helps them to clear their head. It could also be having that sense of control when you inhale and exhale the smoke. For smokers, being addicted to nicotine itself can actually cause stress levels to rise. When the body is deprived of nicotine, stress can be a huge symptom of cravings.
Since having a cigarette quenches the nicotine cravings, the smoker begins to associate having a cigarette with feeling less stressed. On the other hand, smoking marijuana can actually have the opposite effect. If you live in a state where marijuana is legal for either medical or recreational use, you may be able to try using cannabis to help with stress and anxiety.
The problem with turning to alcohol when you are stressed out is that alcohol is a depressant. Have you ever noticed that you feel happier when you are in a good mood when you drink? If you drink when you’re feeling down, you only end up feeling worse? This is because alcohol tends to heighten whichever mood you were in when you were sober. If you drink alcohol when you’re stressed, you could end up feeling worse.
Along with that, alcohol can impair your judgment of situations, therefore getting drunk when you’re stressed out could lead to some regrettable decisions. For this reason, it’s vital to consume alcohol in moderation in order to help you manage your stress levels. For example, one glass of red wine per night can actually be good for your health, but it’s important to avoid overconsuming.
In moderate amounts, caffeine can actually be good for you. It speeds up the metabolism and gives your body an energy boost, which can be useful in many situations. However, relying on caffeine can actually make you feel less energized, tired, and sluggish which in turn can lead to increased levels of stress. If you rely on multiple cups of coffee throughout the day in order to feel awake or have even turned to energy drinks or caffeine tablets, this could actually be causing you to feel more stressed.
When your body’s relying on caffeine for energy, you will experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms when you’ve not had your cup of coffee. If you’re relying on caffeine for your energy, it’s important to cut down gradually. Cutting out caffeine altogether could lead to mild to severe withdrawal symptoms, depending on your level of dependence. These could include headaches, aches and pains, feeling lethargic, and of course stress.
Your sleeping habits are integral to your mental health. How well you sleep at night has a direct correlation to your stress levels. If you’re getting enough sleep and at the right times, you will wake up feeling more refreshed and with a clearer mind. But, busy life and other things can get in the way of us having a good night’s sleep. In order to make sure that you are fully rested and reap as many health benefits as possible, you should be aiming to have around 7 hours of sleep per night. Waking up early can also have some great health benefits. Due to this, you should look to go to bed before midnight at the very latest.
Clearing your mind before you sleep is a vital part of making sure you get a good night’s rest too. One of the biggest mistakes many people make today is taking their technology (laptops, iPhone, iPad, Tablets, etc) to bed with them. When you go to bed with your technology in hand, your mind will begin to associate getting in bed with working, rather than resting. This affects your ability to fall into a restful sleep.
Not allowing yourself time to relax when getting into bed, can lead to issues such as insomnia or feeling tired and unrefreshed every morning. In order to get the best sleep every night, you should make your bedroom a tech-free zone after a certain time of the evening. Listening to soft music and using an essential oil diffuser can be great for setting the sleepy mood and allowing yourself to relax and float away into a deep and peaceful sleep each night.
You may not think about it, but your social habits can also contribute to your stress levels. The people you spend time with and confide in can either be helpful or harmful. When you are feeling stressed out, it’s important to surround yourself with people whom you trust to give you the best support. Understanding how to ask for support and who to turn to can be hugely important when dealing with increased levels of stress and anxiety. Sometimes it feels as if some people know exactly which buttons to press to increase your stress levels.
Understanding who is contributing to your stress is vital to managing it. Sometimes, the people who cause our stress can mean little to us or a lot. Sometimes it’s harder to get away from the people who stress you out. Perhaps they’re your relative or maybe your boss. In this case, it’s crucial to understand how they stress you out. Sometimes, talking to someone who is causing you to feel stressed out and explaining how you feel in a calm manner can be helpful. Not only will you feel better off, but it can also strengthen your relationship with the other person.
These are just a few of the situations that can cause stress in our lives. Having the tools to be able to combat stress and gain better control of the situations you are in can truly change the course of your day!
Stay on the lookout for another installment of Eating Your Way To Calm.
To your health,
P.S. – If you enjoyed this post on Part 5- Knowing What Is Stressing You Out Will Piss You Off (Eat Your Way To Calm), remember to like, share, and comment below.
P.P.S.-If you want to check out the whole series, click HERE!