Welcome to week 6 of my stress busting tips. This week my tip is to think about reducing your intake of stimulants.

What are stimulants?

Sugar, caffeine, nicotine, some legal and illegal drugs are all stimulants. Some stimulants (hopefully not illegal drugs) can be found in every day products such as cake, chocolate, fizzy drinks, energy drinks, cigarettes, coffee and some teas.

Why do we rely on stimulants?

Many of us rely on the use of stimulants when feeling tired or when our energy levels are low. We might be stressed or have insomnia and having a strong coffee, fag or a bar of chocolate throughout the day can often feel like the only way to cope. I know because I’ve been there!

What can happen if I use too much stimulants?

The sad news is that using stimulants as a crutch can actually worsen your stress and anxiety symptoms. So reducing or even stopping them can really be beneficial for your health and well-being.

When you rely on stimulants it can become more and more difficult to relax and you might start to feel wired all the time (I know that I did). It is not unusual for people to then use alcohol and/or sedating drugs such as cannabis and tranquilisers as a way of relaxing. It’s a vicious circle really.

Can you be addicted to stress?

The truth is that some people are actually addicted to stress. And it’s not just food and chemicals that can over stimulate you and increase the body’s stress levels. You can also be addicted to psychological stimulants too such as the stress you experience at work, extreme sports, computer games and even scary movies.

How do I reduce the stimulants that I use?

If you have an addiction to alcohol, drugs or even cigarettes then it would be advisable to speak to an appropriate professional to get advice on the safest way to reduce your intake. This might be a Doctor, alcohol/drug counselor or a nutritionist depending on the substance. If caffeine is your vice then you might find my blog of some help.

Do not try and cut down everything at once. You will just drive yourself crazy. Choose one substance at a time. And don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon. You are human after all!

See you next week!