How To Tell If You Are Addicted To Stress
Stress is the body’s reaction to any perceived threat in our environment, our body, and our thoughts. In other words, any challenge in the outside world and within us that overcomes our coping abilities may provoke stress. When you perceive a threat, a part of the limbic system in your brain called the amygdala stimulates endocrine responses that prepare your body for a “fight-or-flight” response, releasing hormones such as cortisol ( stress hormone ) and adrenaline in your body. As a normal biological process that keeps us going and urges us to do something about a specific situation, stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Nevertheless, prolonged or excessive stress doesn’t allow your body to recover after such a response. In other words, when adrenaline and cortisol remain present in your body for a prolonged time, things can go amiss and take a toll on your health.
- Do you constantly experience the fear of missing out (FOMO)?
- Do you struggle with tight deadlines and feel as though there is never enough time for all the things you need to get done?
- Do you feel anxious when you’re away from your phone or computer?
- Do you have difficulties falling asleep?
- Do you think about work even when you are at home/on vacation?
- Do you often do things at the last minute?
- Do you have difficulties relaxing and finding time for hobbies?
If your answer to most of these questions is “yes”, you may be addicted to cortisol.
Are you Addicted to Stress?
According to the American Institute of Stress, 77 percent of people in the US regularly experience physical symptoms of stress while 73 percent of Americans struggle with psychological difficulties caused by stress. Similarly, a study by the American Psychological Association shows that 24 percent of Americans feel extremely stressed regularly. The main causes of stress among the US population seem to be the future of the country, money, job pressure, and health. Common signs of prolonged stress include fatigue, anxiety, irritability, a weaker immune system, a change in appetite, high blood pressure, and increased heart rate.
But how to tell whether you thrive on stress? Here are three signs you might be a cortisol addict.
1. You are constantly tired. You are always busy. You simply move from one activity to the next feeling that you don’t have any free time. Even when you have a moment for yourself, you are too tired to enjoy things in your life. You are constantly complaining about how busy and tired you are. Yet, you feel as though there is nothing you can do to change this.
2. You’re Unhappy You struggle to recognize what makes you happy and don’t remember when was the last time you did something fun or relaxing. You don’t know how to enjoy your leisure time or how to stay in the present moment and appreciate it.
3. Your Relationships are Strained. Stress addicts usually withdraw from relationships and have difficulties maintaining healthy relationships. You may forget to bond with people and appreciate their presence in your life. You often feel disconnected and can’t find joy in family gatherings and get-togethers with friends. To start better handling stress daily, try relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, journaling. Exercise regularly, make sure to get enough sleep, and eat a balanced diet.