Although we are just two weeks in to the New Year, statistics show that a good amount of those well intentioned resolutions have already been broken. Usually there is a deeper, underlying cause to areas in our life that we are unhappy about or would like to change, so New Year’s resolutions are often difficult to maintain long term without getting to the root of the problem. It could be that an addiction to stress may be at the center of many broken resolutions.
We seem to have developed a bit of a love/hate relationship with stress. We claim to want to reduce it in our lives, yet at the same have become addicted to the adrenaline rush we get when we are pressed for deadlines and juggling overloaded schedules. Hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol get pumped through the body in dangerous or stressful situations, which allows more energy to be directed to our muscles and brain and turns off nonessential functions for the moment including our organs.
This mechanism is designed to give us that burst of energy we need to get through a difficult situation, however, it becomes a problem when we never have downtime between stressful events and adrenaline and cortisol remain in the bloodstream for prolonged periods of time. The continuous drip can wreak havoc on your hair, skin, weight, heart and digestive system and lead to serious health concerns and diseases. We’ve developed a neurochemical dependency on stress, yet overtime our adrenal glands just can’t keep up and we start to feel more fatigued and depleted so we add in more stress to get the stimulation we need and on goes the cycle
According to Heidi Hanna, author of “Stressaholic: Five Steps to Transform Your Relationship With Stress,” in order to overcome an addiction to stress, people need to be aware that stress is a stimulant – as well as a distraction.
“It can keep us from feeling lonely, bored, or isolated, so we just go back into work again, and it also makes us feel validated,” Hanna said. “In today's society, the busier you are, the more stress you have, the more important you are… There’s this interesting void that we feel when we are not stressed out, and some of that is a physical response to losing the stimulation.”
Once people are aware that they thrive on stress, Hanna said they can then start training themselves to do things differently.
We can’t avoid all stress in our lives, nor would it be beneficial to, but putting into place habits and practices that will give our bodies and minds adequate downtime during the week is absolutely essential. Practices that support healthy adrenal function and will allow your body to naturally maintain steady energy levels include:
As a Certified Massage Therapist for nearly 14 years, business owner and mother of 2, I'm on a continual journey to live a more natural and balanced life and am passionate about sharing what I learn along the way with my kids and clients to equip others with thriving health.