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This week is all about feeling good. But when you begin to get things under control and start feeling confident about how you are managing your stress, it is easy to slip back into bad habits. So, here are the top five bad habits of stressed people to help keep you on track.

Bad Habit #1 – Consuming too much caffeine
Most of us enjoy a daily caffeine intake, and while the occasional coffee isn’t going to do you great harm, it’s important to remember that caffeine is, in fact, a drug, and it’s possible to have a full blown caffeine addiction. More likely and common, however, is caffeine dependence, where people use caffeine to jump start their energy in the morning, use it throughout the day to stave off a ‘caffeine crash’, and then find their sleep disturbed by caffeine, causing them to wake up tired and need the caffeine jolt to get going again the next day. As the cycle continues, caffeine affects stress levels as well.

Bad Habit #2 – Smoking
For smokers, a cigarette can feel like a good stress reliever. In fact, during times of stress, a cigarette feels almost necessary, and quitting the habit can seem virtually impossible. (Due in part to physical addiction and in part to habit and other social and lifestyle factors, it’s been said that quitting smoking is as difficult as quitting heroin!) Unfortunately, we all know that cigarettes can be costly, financially speaking and especially healthwise, and because smoking creates much more stress than it alleviates, it’s more than worth it to kick the habit.

Bad Habit #3 – Drinking in excess
Many people find that a glass of wine can be a good way to unwind at the end of a stressful day, and most physicians and researchers agree, citing studies that show that red wine has benefits for heart health. However, drinking can be a slippery slope, as excessive drinking can cause problems in virtually every area of a person’s life, causing much more stress in the long run. If you are one who has trouble limiting alcohol consumption to one or two drinks, and even if you can drink very moderately, but find that this is your only regular stress management practice, it would likely be in your best interest to pursue other forms of stress relief.

Bad Habit #4 – Compulsive spending
People have many ways of relieving stress or of filling a void inside themselves. While buying yourself a nice gift once in a while can be a nice pick me up, and an effective self care strategy, compulsively buying things to relieve stress or feel good about yourself, spending money you don’t have on things you don’t need, can only cause more financial stress in the long run, and cause feelings of shame, a cluttered home, and add to the stress you were trying to alleviate.

Bad Habit #5 – Emotional eating
If eating the wrong things becomes a main coping mechanism for stress, it can lead to compromised health, excessive weight, and additional stress stemming from these effects. A poor diet can cause additional stress also by leading to blood sugar imbalances that make stressful situations seem more overwhelming. If you find that stress leads to poor dietary habits because of emotional eating, or for other reasons (like you’re just too busy to cook healthy dinners at home), you can learn to adapt healthier eating habits with these resources.

Resource: Healthlogix – Australian Corporate Wellness online portal.

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