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6 signs that you are a stressaholic

Elena ChebotaevaLife
6 signs that you are a stressaholic

1. You are a deadline hero. The deadline is set to give you enough time to get the job done without going into emergency mode. But as long as the deadline is far away, you have no impulse to start working. It's too safe. As the deadline gradually approaches, the situation becomes dangerous. Adrenaline is gradually released. The approaching deadline makes you more and more tense. And now, when all the deadlines are burning, you make a phenomenal rise in activity. At the last minute, you still manage to make it. You feel like a hero (a dose of dopamine for the winner). Then you fall down in exhaustion at the finish line. You are a hero who created a reason for heroism in a situation that did not really require it.

2. You feel like you are just wasting time in contact with yourself. When you try to practice mindfulness techniques, meditation, yoga, Pilates, Qigong (any techniques that require concentration on your own feelings for healing or stress management), you keep catching yourself thinking that everything is happening too slowly ("I'm wasting time", "When will I start doing something", "It's so boring", etc.). The flow of thoughts about the tasks at hand is interfered with, and the focus of attention is constantly returning to the outside world.

3. You are bored when your relationship is calm and stable. Only hardcore, only intoxicating passion, and only emotional swings seem to be a real feeling and capture you completely.

4. You prefer horror movies and stories about the impending apocalypse. Your favorite movies are horrors and disasters. When it's scary, but this scariness makes your blood run faster, and you feel really alive.

5. Your attention is drawn to threatening and bad news. You are disturbed and frightened by news about real or threatened wars, disasters, and epidemics, but you can't stop checking the news feed all the time.

6. You can't do without extreme risk. In the absence of risky behavior (dangerous driving, extreme sports, gambling, risky deals, etc.), life seems boring and dull to you. Therefore, you create risky situations in your life, increasing the degree of emotional experience.

This list is far from complete. If you find it difficult to engage in activities or enjoy yourself without a sense of excitement and danger, tension in your body, you may be addicted to stress (the "fight-or-flight mode").

This mode was created by Nature for an active response to a stimulus. When you need to run away from a predator to save your life, or, conversely, to catch a victim, defend your territory, or attract the attention of a member of the opposite sex. Once the task is accomplished, we rest and relax.

The balance of tension and relaxation is the key to health and a high quality of life.

Constantly living in this mode is an imbalance

The adrenal hormones, primarily adrenaline, are involved in the activation of this  mode. Thanks to it, we enter a state of "combat readiness": blood pressure, heart rate, and central nervous system activity increase and our body is ready to meet a challenge. This is a mode of increased focus on the task, an increased level of excitement.

Its disadvantages are obvious: tunnel vision (we notice from the world around us exactly what confirms the relevance of the "fight-or-flight" mode, ignoring safety signals), and, accordingly, we form a perception of what is happening in the world and the behavior of others as unfriendly or downright hostile. The "fight-or-flight" mode is very expensive for the body: the price for maintaining it is nervous and physical exhaustion, sleep disturbances, adrenal exhaustion syndrome, and many, many sores that result from constant overstrain.

In this mode, we are unable to communicate and negotiate effectively. We can do this only from the position of "strong-weak". It is in this mode that we are not interlocutors and partners but opponents in a dispute.

Thus, we find ourselves in a vicious circle: in the "fight-or-flight" mode, the world is perceived as hostile, and accordingly, only information confirming this is allowed in the field of perception, the "fight-or-flight" mode receives reinforcement and the fight continues.

The "good" news is that being under stress can give you a certain "high," a state of elation and excitement. Once accustomed to this state, a person feels uncomfortable when the state changes. Often, it is this state that makes a person move, start activity. This is what adrenaline addiction is.

The world is safer for humans than ever before, and the greed for absorbing information that provokes this mode is off the charts. In the absence of any other, better experience of life, it is in this mode that we feel more alive. Realizing that this is the kind of news that the public wants, the media simply fulfill a social order by focusing on finding it. Or (for that matter!) on creating it.

We complain of high levels of stress and discomfort from it. We seek to increase the dose. Classic behavior of an addicted person.

The addiction is also reinforced by the philosophy of achievement: if I don't move as fast as possible, I won't be able to do everything I need to do. (Are you sure you won't? Remember about tunnel vision: have you chosen the most effective way to your goal? Who and what do you owe?)

My client once asked me after practicing mindfulness, "Is it safe to relax like this?"

Can it be changed? Yes.

Is it possible to be effective without constantly being in adrenaline fever mode? Yes, it is.

The question is: how many people really want to do this?

If you want it, you can start with something simple. When you feel like the world is moving too fast and you're not keeping up and when your anxiety level rises, stop.

Just say to yourself, "STOP!". Take a few breaths in and out (if it's hard to inhale, just exhale, and the breaths will come naturally). Feel your feet resting on the ground. You can lean against a wall or the back of a chair and feel the support. Say, "I am safe." Listen to the response your body gives in response to these words. Praise yourself for bringing yourself back to reality. And repeat this sequence every time you need to.

Addiction will not let go immediately. However, you can cope with it either by yourself or with the help of a specialist if you see the value in taking care of your body and nervous system and living in a world that is no longer perceived as hostile.

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