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Human Performance Blog

Are you Stress...Addicted?

Time to shine a light on a topic that often goes un-addressed...That might even make you feel naked as a High Performing Professional. (You've been Warned)


Do you pride yourself on your ability to juggle multiple tasks, meet tight deadlines, and handle high-pressure situations with ease?


For High Performing Professionals, Stress addiction and it's resulting thoughts/behaviors can be deeply ingrained into your identity, work and life!


I wouldn't be surprised if you never thought of being Stress Addicted until now!


In stressful situations, there is an Adrenaline rush from the urgency...top that off with the Dopamine you get when you actually finish the project or solve the situation...because of course you usually do...that's addicting AF.


So what happens next is that you'd subconsciously seek out stressful situations or create unnecessary pressure in your life to maintain that rush, heightened state of arousal and perceived increase in ability or performance.


Like other forms of addiction, which can have a detrimental effects on your physical, emotional, and mental well-being...so can Stress Addiction. Levels of stress over time lead to exhaustion, burnout, anxiety, depression, and even a weakened immune system.


So you've probably already read, somewhere on the interweb - that some stress is positive, and Yes! That's called Eustress...the positive type of stress that can motivate individuals to perform at their best and adapt to new circumstances. However, when stress becomes chronic, overwhelming, or compulsive, it can evolve into an addiction that interferes with overall well-being and functioning.


Being addicted to stress as a High Performing Professional involves a compulsive need for the adrenaline rush and/or sense of urgency associated with stress.

This can look like...

  • Thriving on the pressure and intensity of demanding situations,

  • Equating stress with productivity and success

  • Constantly seeking out challenging opportunities

  • Overloading yourself with responsibilities

...all to help maintain that heightened state of arousal...even if you're always complaining about that TO-DO list...it's diesel fuel to keep you rat-racing!


It can also look like...and I'm pretty sure this'll resonate...

  • Struggling to switch off

Because it's the most common symptom.


Despite the negative consequences of chronic stress, such as burnout, anxiety, and exhaustion, High Performing Professionals may struggle to break free from the cycle of stress addiction.

You may fear that slowing down or taking breaks will compromise your performance or diminish your competitive edge...your worth or maybe even expose you as an imposter.


As a result, you'll continue to push yourself beyond your limits, sacrificing everything in the process...like your health, well-being and relationships that are important to you.

(Spoiler...going on benders every weekend to 'blow off some steam' is no different)


Addressing stress addiction as a High-Performing Professional requires a shift in mindset and behavior...like... you guessed it, a kind of Step Program!

This would involve admitting, accepting, and recognizing the effects of stress on performance and overall quality of life, as well as cultivating healthier coping mechanisms and management strategies to how stress shows up in your performance and the excuses you make to keep it (stress) around regardless of if you feel like its helping.


Important Note

'Stress Free' is NOT and should NOT be the goal.

The goal is being constructive, useful and adaptive with how you approach work, life situations. Having a toolkit of healthier ways to cope with stress, set boundaries, and cultivate a greater sense of balance and well-being...despite the stressors of life.


Warning

Most people wait until total exhaustion and burnout to force them to confront their Stress Addiction...and even then, the popular solution is more Self Care...which just isn't it!

Let me spoil the ending of that movie for you...you'll feel good for the moment...jump back on the hamster wheel of stress responses that you're used to and end up exactly where you started or worse.


But this doesn't have to be you!


Let's explore and address your Relationship with Stress...Free Consultation

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