Do you reach for the ice cream when you start to feel stressed?
One definition of stress is “a specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, which disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.” That said, let’s look at some of the reactions many of us engage in when our bodies respond to the stimuli.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE STRESS: WITH CRAVINGS?
How many times have you used food to deflect stressful moments? Perhaps it’s chocolate or a creamy bisque that’s become your answer. Perhaps it’s some other comfort food.
The issue at hand is that these safety nets can become a dangerous coping mechanism, leading to health consequences as well as mounting stress.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE STRESS: WITH DRINKING?
“I’m just going to drink a glass of wine to help me wind down,” which turns into two and maybe even more.
Then, it goes from an occasional “glass” to I need a cocktail after dinner each night, until the situation is fully out of control and, of course, more stress.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE STRESS: BY SHOPPING ‘TIL YOU DROP?
Shopping vs merely window shopping involves the distribution of money. Often, this is an activity that will spring forth from impulse.
Herein, lays the problem.
Why, you ask? More often than not, impulsive buying leads to over-spending and, you’ve got it, over-spending usually leads to additional S T R E S S.
SO WHAT TO DO?
So, should you not enjoy your favorite chocolate ice cream; never drink; and not shop in order to put the clamp on some of the negative habits of stress? Certainly not! What we all should do, however, is intentionally work to not allow these measures to become how we cope with the inevitable interventions of stress in our daily lives.
A DIFFERENT WAY YOU CAN HANDLE STRESS
Let’s look at this a little closer. We will assume that I’ve just had one of the most stressful days of my life. My normal tendency is to pick up a half-gallon of my favorite ice-cream and large bag of cookies on the way home. Of course I have no intention of eating more than a cup of the icy stuff with 2-3 cookies at the max. Instead, at evening’s end, I’m making a trip to the bathroom and the trash is holding both the cookie wrapper and the empty ice cream container.
Instead of following my normal inclinations, tonight I am purchasing a child size ice cream cone at the ice cream store not far from home and nothing else. I am driving as I eat the cone. So, when it’s gone, it’s gone. I don’t even keep a supply in my freezer anymore.
Once I get home, I will don my walking shoes for a 15 or 20 minutes around the neighborhood and then a shower. I will then journal my thoughts and feelings for having chosen this course before settling down with a book and glass of water.
Voila! The challenge to not revert to old habits and ways will forever stare us in the face. However, when we have a plan we are equipped for the long run to extinguish the old with the new.