How to De-stress More Healthfully

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Do you know how to de-stress?

inspirational quote tranquilityI’d imagine many of us have “tools” we use when we are stressed, but they are nothing that we’ve consciously identified as stress reducers, but they work none-the-less (at least in the short-term).  The problem is that our stress reducers might not always have the healthiest outcome.  Here are some examples of things we may use now, or have in the past to deal with stress:

Some Stress Reducers Work, But Aren’t That Healthy

  • overeating
  • using alcohol or drugs
  • smoking
  • kicking the dog (not literally)
  • crying, yelling, breaking things
  • sleeping/shutting down

Stress and Willpower

Ironically enough, these may be things we are actively trying to avoid, but they seem to call to us when stress strikes. Stress and willpower don’t seem to play nicely together. In a high-stress moment we may not intentionally choose these as are our stress reducers, but since they worked in the past, we subconsciously gravitate toward them. Or just as likely, we may have unintentionally replaced one of these, like smoking, with another, like overeating.

I’m learning how to de-stress in healthier ways by having a gameplan for high-stress times. At this very moment I’m using a variety of stress management tools that I know will be better for me than diving into a vat of chocolate or wine, both of which sound appealing when I’m stressed:

4 Ways To De-Stress More Healthfully

How do you de-stress? Have you replaced any unhealthy stress management tools with healthier ones?

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12 Responses (Add Yours)

  • Rose says:

    Robyn, stress management is such an important topic these days. Exercise, even just going for a simple walk, is a great way to diffuse stress. I also find just petting & cuddling my cat is a big help. He’s just so cute & loving, he quickly takes me away to a ‘happy place’ every time.

  • Becky says:

    You’re right about subconsciously gravitating towards them. I get into bad habits so easily! I also need to stop yelling at the kids when everything gets crazy. I’ll try some of these new techniques. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lynne M says:

    I guess it is not a good thing to use alcohol, cigars or drugs just to ease tension and de-stress. Sometimes I just take a short nap, listening to music or watch the favorite television programs just to be able to unwind and free from the stress that I am dealing. It is much healthier to do natural things rather than rely on artificial things that is not healthy for our body.

  • Eric says:

    I’ve literally used all of the above methods to try and destress. However, I found a more healthy approach in the form of closing my eyes and imagining the most peaceful and tranquil beach I’ve ever been on and just think about that for a minute or so – works a treat every time:)

  • The outlets I gravitate toward are unhealthy – bingeing, hair pulling and cyclical thinking.

    For daytime stress I’ve learned that if I combine a burst of something nutritious (or even a small nib of 85% cocoa) and activity such as brisk walking or landscaping I come out the other end feeling more successful. If it’s a night time event, I breathe and think of the guidance my therapist has tried to reinforce, “Can you be gentle with yourself and be ok that you are upset in the first place?”. Hard, but becoming more and more ‘do-able’.

  • Robyn says:

    Thanks for the feedback and ideas, everyone. Eric, my “happy/peaceful place” is a beach as well. I always shift to that after using thought stopping. It works well.

  • cindy says:

    And how stressful is a diet? The moment you start a diet you’re stressed out about it. I love what you said about ‘stress and will power don’t play nice together.’ Just another reason why diets are impossible to stick with.

  • My animals are a source of unconditional love and therefore are great de-stressors. Also, when I am able to be mindful and be present in all situations, I am less stressed.

  • […] When you’re juggling a hectic schedule and just can’t seem to keep stress at bay, it’s easy to turn to unhealthy habits such as overeating, using alcohol, smoking, sleeping too much, or getting upset often. While stress can’t be completely eliminated from your life, there are some things you can do to keep stress at bay and get through those tough times in a healthy way. Knowing how to reduce stress without turning to bad habits will make it easier to enjoy life and handle even a tough situation. Here are some tips on how to reduce stress in a healthy way. […]

  • Susan says:

    Like many I use to overeat in order to cope with stress and when I was feeling low. I also agree about diets and willpower. Diets require willpower, but your need calories to sustain willpower so it becomes a self defeating process. I have found that meditating everyday has helped me greatly to de stress in a healthy and relaxed way.

  • Craig says:

    Really good point and shift in perspective. The positive effect this could have on your lifestyle with the power of the mind to make the difference is great, move from smoking to meditation or visualisation can change the way you feel short and long term. Great post!

  • […] Green Mountain at Fox Run’s “A Weight Lifted” blog, Robyn Priebe writes about the unhealthy habits many of us resort to when we are stressed and seeking relief.  Some of […]

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