Do you glorify your busyness? Can you calmly sit still for more than five minutes? Does your whirling head full of data validate your importance as a person? Is your ‘to do’ list ever growing…never ending? If you answered yes to these questions you could be one of the growing breed of stress addicts.
Maybe you consider chill out time as a waste of your precious resources. You hate your job, which doesn’t pay enough anyway, but you are so busy working….and moaning about working, that you do not have time to do anything about it!
The following signs are clear indications of stress addiction. If you find yourself being described here then it is time to take a back step and evaluate what is really important to you before you burn out, cause damage to your relationships and lose sight of who you really are.
1. Constant Moaning
Do you moan non stop to anybody that will listen, specifically about how busy you are and work in general?
Do you find your life so frustrating that you only feel a release when you are bending someone’s ear about how tough it all is?
People that are addicted to stress do not always see the positives. Their noses are stuck to the grindstone so completely, that they cannot see the beautiful sunshine! From this position it can feel that you are the only one in this position. Everyone around you seems to have it much easier and work nowhere near as hard as you do - but this is most definitely not the case.
Some people are just very good at hiding what they might be going through so well you would think that they had it all in life.
2. Being Happy = Less Payoff right?
People addicted to stress often relate to the phrase ‘no pain, no gain’. They feel that they are putting in the effort today for the rewards tomorrow.
So ask yourself…have you lost sight of the fact that ‘NOW’ is all that matters?
You cannot control the future. Being so busy that you are miserable in the present will not guarantee you a happy future. All that you can control is ‘right now’.
So yes, it is important to work, but it is equally important to be happy! People addicted to stress often relate to the phrase ‘no pain, no gain’. They feel that they are putting in the effort today for the rewards tomorrow.
3. Always Busy
Do you have any free time to do fun stuff? Or is it impossible to squeeze in any leisure activities because there is just so much to do?
Those addicted to stress just do not have enough time to kick back and relax. They feel that they cannot simply take time off to join activities and celebrations.
In truth, a fully packed schedule is not a sign of success. If work leaves you too busy or too tired to enjoy your life then you are not succeeding. That is a clear indication of failure!
4. No Time to Nurture Relationships
Do your loved ones complain that you are difficult to communicate with? You never really listen, you are distant and distracted? You might have even noticed that your friendships seem to fade away over time.
It could be that you are so busy with work and appointments that you have become careless with your relationships. Not taking time to connect with partners and family can leave you feeling like you do not know them anymore.
Even though you might be physically around in the evenings after work, it is important to be present with them, not worrying about work. Investing time with friends and family pays huge dividends in building your tribe (and your happiness levels).
5. You do Not Even Know What Makes You Happy
Are your main goals based around ticking tasks off of your daily work agenda? Do you consider having fun a priority at all? Would you book a day off work to join in with an opportunity to do something that you love?
It might be that you have forgotten what your own interests are! Stress addicts can even feel like they do not know how to spend their free time, even feeling anxious rather than enjoying time away from work. It could be time to take stock of who you are and what you enjoy. Making it a priority to slip some fun into your schedule will keep you refreshed and could even boost your productivity when you get back to work!
How to Exit the Stress Cycle
If you recognise any of these signs, then you could be suffering with stress addiction!
The good news is that you can turn your life around, redress your priorities and start to enjoy yourself once again.
When you pan out to the bigger picture you can see that happiness is what matters most of all. Money cannot buy friends, family and love. You do not need to work at breakneck speed to be valuable!
Once you see from this perspective that you may be addicted to the adrenaline rush of being stressed, you might realise that you are in fact unhappy. Slow down and enjoy your one short and precious life.