Surprising Sources Of Stress*

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*This is a collaborative post*

Stress levels are on the rise, and while we can point to larger concerns like the rise of living costs and young people having trouble finding decent pay, the answer is often closer to home. Here, we’re going to look at some of the lifestyle choices, habits, and circumstances that could be contributing to your stress levels more than you realize.


Those bad habits

Call them weaknesses, vices, or whatever you like. The most commonly known bad habits are big causes of stress. If you have cravings for sugar, caffeine, alcohol, or cigarettes, they can be distracting, becoming a hot-button issue in the middle of the day and halting your productivity. Some are more stressful than others. Smoking, for instance, is considered a method of stress relief. But it’s the natural state of heightened need for that cigarettes that might be the real cause of stress. Every indulgence is just a quick hit before you return to the status quo. Whether it’s Champix tablets for stopping smoking or warm decaf drinks to fight caffeine, you have to find your way of battling your vice. It will be difficult and even more stressful initially but, eventually, it will help your mind find its equilibrium.
Social media

You might doubt how big an impact the internet can really have on your health. However, the truth is that the mental effects of the internet and social media are mostly uncharted territories, exploring a new world. And what has been found so far is far from comforting. Particularly in women, overuse of social media has a direct correlation to anxiety, depression, and even attempts to self-harm in the most serious of ways. The internet has made it harder to compartmentalize life. If a girl gets into a feud at school, it’s likely to continue through social media rather than her having an evening to leave it behind. When you have a fight online, you’re not just having it in a localized area you can cool off from. You bring it everywhere with you. A detox from social media might be much more helpful than you think.

Sleeplessness

Many of the bad habits mentioned, especially caffeine, lead to sleeplessness, too. Too little sleep, too much sleep, and irregular patterns all contribute to a more stressful life. That’s because of the real impact it has on your ability to regulate your production of cortisol (also known as the stress hormone). A great way to achieve a better night’s sleep is to actually spend some time getting in “the zone”. Don’t look at any mobile phones or TV screens for half-an-hour before bed. Spend that time in darkness. Soundproof the room as much as possible with things like draft excluders. Make your bed as comfortable and clean as possible. Taking the time to relax, like indulging in meditation and aromatherapy, can induce sleepiness much more naturally, too.
Distracted days

Are you a hard working professional, a go-getting mum, or a diligent student? Or perhaps you’re a mix of all three of those? We all have responsibilities we have to learn to get on top of. However, letting them climb over one another or trying to multitask and making a jumble of your day can easily make anyone feel overwhelmed. It’s time to learn some time management skills and use apps like Daily Agenda. Set a schedule for how you use the “working” hours of your day, whether work means taking care of business in the office or keeping the home in tip-top shape. If you let your other responsibilities intrude and distract you from what you’re doing right now, it will keep you in a form of heightened awareness that is far from uncomfortable.


Uncertainty

Life is uncertain. We all know that we can’t divine the future. However, it’s when that uncertainty feels paralysing and we just drift through it that’s truly dangerous. Don’t be passive about your future. It’s significantly more empowering and confidence building to have a plan. Set your own goals, measure your progress, and stay dedicated to them. A great way to do that is to write them down and have them printed somewhere visible. Give your life some momentum so it doesn’t feel like you’re floating through the uncertainty.
Of course, stress is also caused by personal circumstances. But while you might be dealing with stressful events in your life, how your brain processes them and how you bear with them is down to your body more than you imagine. Don’t let the habits above intrude in your life, and you could be better equipped to healthily deal with any challenge life brings.

*Contributed by Sam Jones


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