The Absolute Worst Things To Do When You’re Stressed Out
When life comes at you fast and furious, the last thing you want to do is make things even harder on yourself. Start by avoiding these 8 traps:
Mistake #8: Doing Exactly What You’ve Been Doing
A funny thing happens to stressed-out rats. They fall into a rut. They can learn to press a bar for food—but, unlike their unpressured peers, they don’t know to stop when full or adapt to changes in the environment. Under stress, behaviors become habits more easily, finds a study at the University of Minho in Portugal
. Habit-forming regions of the brain expand; goal-directed ones shrink. Is this why we find our burned-out selves stuck in a rat-race job? Or trapped in a dead-end relationship? The more stress, the less change. Scrape together what’s left of your volition and shake yourself up—with meditation, extreme travel, glow-in-the-dark bowling-- you know what it takes. Four weeks—that’s how long it took rats to get out of their ruts completely (and regenerate neurons in brain regions related to goal- and decision making) once stressors were removed.
Next: 7 ways to relieve stress in under an hour
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.