How NOT to Deal With Stress

Natural stress relief productWhile there are many good techniques for dealing with the physical and emotional causes and consequences of stress there are also some which are just not the right solution. Short-term symptom relief and long-term cures for chronic stress are possible. And, stress is funny as compared to other conditions in that relieving the symptoms can sometimes be a step towards relieving the condition itself. Also, relieving the immediate symptoms or effects of stress can help prevent many of the ills that stress can cause.  However there are many strategies commonly employed towards these ends that are actually counter-productive. Despite the best intentions and the most "obvious" expected results, here are a million ways to go wrong.

Here are some of the more typical errors.


In an attempt to alleviate the tension and worry that accompany stress, some individuals will unwittingly engage in self-destructive behavior or displaced aggression.

The stress that can lead you to being short-tempered can also urge you to lash out angrily at a trusted friend or loved one. It can incline some to excessive alcohol consumption, with its attendant, stress-creating problems, or coffee drinking with the result of high caffeine intake, leading to more stress symptoms. It can lead to aggressive or violent behavior, even towards the very ones who can provide the most support and comfort


One of the more common results of stress is insomnia. When something is troubling you, and you are physically uncomfortable, it's difficult to relax enough to sleep. When you do finally manage to fall asleep, it's often interrupted during the night, or not the type of deep sleep that is genuinely restful.

Taking a sleeping medication or some natural sleep aid may be helpful in some situations, but long term dependence on any kind of drug to deal with life's problems is self-defeating in the long run. Instead, learning to use some simple meditation techniques to focus the mind and induce a relaxing state can not only have a great affect on this situation but has many other benefits as well..


A heightened focus on problem solving is natural for some types of individuals. But obsessing, even in the face of serious issues, is counter-productive. Try to see the problem as you would if it were being experienced by a friend. You would be concerned, of course. We're often much better at maintaining objectivity when the problem belongs to someone else.


Some people try to cope with stress by doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Throwing oneself into projects at work is one way people have of shifting focus away from their problems at home. As with so many other techniques avoidance can only be partially successful, and only temporarily at that.

Case in point.  A friend of mine came into work a few years ago.  We all knew she was on a tight budget and also tended to take the easy way out on a lot of issues.  During a discussion in the office, she mentioned that her car had begun making a strange noise, and it was getting louder and louder.  We asked what she had done about it, and she replied, "Oh, I just turn the radio up louder so I don't have to hear it."

We never knew if she was telling the truth or pulling our legs, but that's the tactic a lot of people take.

True, some problems will go away on their own and ignoring them can sometimes be a viable strategy. But circumstances combined with personal reactions which lead to chronic stress do not disappear simply because we're not thinking about them.

A temporary break to gain perspective and get the emotions under control is healthy. Hiding one's head in the sand is not.

Fundamentally, all these incorrect and unhelpful methods have a common fallacy. Reality doesn't go away when some aspects of it are inconvenient or unpleasant. Life is filled with genuine obstacles in our pathway towards achieving values. The existence of those hurdles and the need to overcome them - when combined with doubts about our ability to do so - leads to stress.


Page Updated 11:27 AM Tuesday 23 January 2018
Web Page Copyright 2018 by Donovan Baldwin