5 things you should avoid when under stress

I have been feeling some significant stress as of late. I tend to be a little sensitive to stress under normal circumstances; lately, it’s felt a bit heavier than normal. Without boring you to death with a ‘woe is me’ story, let’s just say that a couple of ventures I am involved with are under-performing against specific targets and expected results.

When strategy reviews and corrections aren’t getting the needle to move as quickly as desired, especially when you’re behind the proverbial eight ball……. Voilà ……. stress.

Stress can take a toll on mind and body

Stress, when not well-managed, can take a great toll on your mind and body. It can cause lack of sleep, irritability, and a whole host of other effects that are completely connected to each other.

Stress is reportedly higher that one might expect, and the statistics are startling. Based on some quick research:

  • 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month. (2009)
  • 77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress (2012)
  • 66% of all office visits to family physicians are due to stress-related symptoms (American Academy of Family Physicians)

What causes us to experience levels this high? While there are likely many sub-categories, the most common reasons cited include money, health, job-related circumstances, and family situation. Doesn’t it seem as though we are all subject to one of more of these areas at any given time, especially if your overall disposition ranks lower on the scale of optimism?

In times of stress, we often crave relief… even if only temporarily. But, it’s often true that our vices can actually make matters worse.

5 things you should avoid

While I am not an authority on the subject, I have identified 5 things you should avoid when under a period of stress. If you engage in these 5 things, it will prolong your stress level in both time and intensity. I am guilty of everyone of them; trust me, these things are not helpful:

  1. Your liquor cabinet – It’s natural to think that a glass of your favorite beverage will mellow your mood, which will increase your focus. This is numbing, which only leads to another glass, which leads to incoherent focus, which leaves more work for later.
  2. Raising your voice – No matter how frustrated you are, raising your voice only makes it worse. Now you have people to apologize to, and likely some hurt feelings to mend.
  3. Secluding yourself – Seclusion puts you off limits. It takes you voluntarily out of the game. It takes you out of relationship.
  4. Seeking a resting place for blame – Surely someone dropped the ball, or isn’t doing enough. Right? Wrong. I find that the more time I spend looking for somewhere to place blame, the less time I allow to figure out what I could be doing better.
  5. Dropping your normal routine – This week, I have been less cautious about my foods, drank less water, and have not been to the gym once. No wonder I feel like a slug.

Your turn to share! What are some of things you find yourself weak to while under increased stress? How do you avoid them?

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