I was recently reading an article in Chatelaine magazine called Stop Being a Stress Junkie. I read it curiously because I am one of those people who thrives on stress. I love being so busy that I don’t have time to stop and think. I love the challenge of a fast-paced project with so many arms and legs it is like a complex puzzle. I love working night and day until my brain hurts from thinking. I admit it, I am a stress addict.
So I read this article and all I could think is why? Why would I want to “stop being a stress junkie”? Obviously, there are limits and a few times recently I have come pretty close to maxing out. But most of the time I get such a rush that I wouldn’t want to stop. When I am not busy I get antsy. I have too much time to think. I am bored.
It seems that everything is bad for you these days, even the things that motivate and fulfill you. Don’t get me wrong, I get it. Stress can be bad if it is too much and starts to impact your life negatively over the long-term. I have definitely felt negative stress—worry, fear, dissatisfaction—and those are different and should be dealt with but even these can’t be eliminated altogether.
Stress teaches me things. It forces me to push myself beyond my self-imposed limits. It drives me and builds my confidence. Dealing with stress effectively is a challenge but the reward is a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Stressful times are just part of the journey.
I know many people who stress about stress. They worry about its impact and when it will be over, things will get better and their lives will go back to a peaceful calm. These people are not stress junkies. They are not people like me who get high off the crazy times and low during the “peaceful calm”. Their limits are different and that is OK but stress addicts like me, we crave that rush. It lights a fire in us and brings us to life. And I guess I have to wonder, is this really so bad?
The funny part is that the article was supposed to give tips on how to stop being a stress junkie but it didn’t really at all. To me it read more like “add even more things to your already stressful life that you can stress about”—eat better, sleep more (ha!), exercise (but only certain kinds) and meditate (double ha!).
Honestly, I think this would put me over the edge. Riding that stress wave is a precarious thing and we are always on the verge of falling over. Adding a “to-do” list of additional self-imposed pressures during an especially stressful time is probably the worst idea I have ever heard. It is always wise to take care of yourself but, let’s be honest, when you are stressing out and life is insane it is time for survival mode and the best advice I can give you as a life-long stress addict is “don’t sweat the small stuff” and “know when to call it”. Keep your head above water until you can’t anymore and then bail out. Know when it is time for a quiet weekend away or an afternoon at the spa. And if it is too much over a long period of time, reevaluate.
Take it from a stress junkie—just like any addiction, the bigger the high the greater the crash. You don’t need to stop being a stress junkie at all but you do need to make sure that you are in control of your addiction and not the other way around. Don’t let stress rule you, let it drive you.
Are there any other stress junkies out there?