Living in a highly stressful and chaotic environment every single day can get us desensitized to it. We get so used to living and working in such conditions that it becomes what is “normal” for us. We don’t even question why everything has to be stressful and chaotic. It‘s just the way we’ve been used to. This is why getting used to this is a very damaging habit for both our mental and physical well-being.
It may not sound plausible, but we can get addicted to stress. There are even scientists attesting to this fact of how stress can be addictive to our brain. As neuroscientist and addiction specialist Jim Pfaus says, Jim Pfaus explains, stress can cause a “natural high” through the activation of arousal and attention centers in our peripheral nervous system and that the things we consider to be stressors can affect our neural circuitry in the same way as drugs.
Just like drugs, our brains are able to tolerate it the more we expose ourselves to it. Thereby requiring ourselves to have a higher amount in order to feel the same way. This is because we have developed a tolerance already for normal levels of stress and it can no longer give us the “rush” that we are looking for.
Authors like Debbie Mandel also describe people addicted to stress as people who may be looking for a distraction from things that cause unhappiness and lack of control. Stress and keeping yourself busy are great ways to make yourself forget underlying problems as it occupies your mind.
“A stress addict is looking to feel numb through distraction to avoid dealing with the source of unhappiness and loss of control,” – Debbie Mandel
By being constantly stressed from doing all paper works and other things in your career, family, at home, or school etc, you keep yourself occupied while also being able to achieve or finish tasks giving you a sense of accomplishment while also making you forget about other things that may be bothering you.
Hence, we must not use stress to run away from the things that we have to reflect on and emotionally process. If we do this, we are only delaying stress for those situations by substituting it with stress from current situations. Remember that stress and work are not supposed to control our lives, instead, we must be the ones to control our stress levels. But, in order for this to happen, we do have to slow down long enough to observe, feel, and process the damage our stressed lives are costing us in all areas of our lives.
Don’t abandon yourself! Do the work!
It’s not easy, but you’re worth it.