Do Stress & Anxiety Make Us Addictive?

Do stress and anxiety make us addictive? Stress and anxiety are at the highest levels I’ve seen in 30 years and cause a vulnerability to addictive escapes. The economy is a big driver, but it’s exacerbated by the amount of change and loss occurring – job, home or illness, and the fact that we’re not taught how to take care of ourselves in pro-active and loving ways.

stressed womanEscapes do sort of work - a glass of wine (or 3 or 4) or a hit of pot, or shopping and certainly food, can distract us from life problems, but don’t solve them. If you find yourself relating, take a breath, and try to be nonjudgmental. I’ll talk about solutions in part two, but here are the top 3 Lite addictions, or guilty pleasures, people use to cope with stress or anxiety.

Shopping: MyVesta, a web-based financial health center, found that 49% of survey respondents overspent. Experts say 5% of the U.S. population could be full-fledged compulsive shoppers.

Internet porn: Robert Wise, of Sexual Recovery Institute, Los Angeles, says 40 million Americans watch porn during a year and 10% to 15% of those are clearly addicted. Porn is a $13 billion industry in the U.S

and $100 billion worldwide.

Overeating & Fast food: In 1970, Americans spent $6 billion dollars on fast food while in 2001 more than $110 billion was spent. Obesity affects about 30% of the population.

young_people_drinking_wineYou might wonder: “If I run to the shopping mall or eat at McDonald’s when I’m stressed, does that mean I’m an addict?” Probably not. Doing pleasurable things for stress relief is natural. The difference between healthy & addictive is answered by these questions: 1) Is my shopping (or whatever I’m using for stress relief) causing problems in my relationships? Am I lying about how much I spend or in debt over my head? 2) Is my behavior making me feel guilty? 3) Is the shopping, alcohol or prescription medications, causing me to miss work, or have money problems?

As Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now says, “Things and conditions can give you pleasure, but they cannot give you joy.”

sunset beach betterIn Part Two you’ll find easy to learn body-mind strategies to shift stress & emotional upset quickly.