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Unhealthy Stress Relievers that Can Affect Your Health

woman stress eating sugary food and desserts on the table


  • Stress relief is essential for maintaining mental and physical health.
  • Unhealthy stress relievers such as alcohol, smoking, overeating, and drug use can negatively impact our health.
  • We can manage our stress levels by learning how to manage our time effectively and taking regular exercise breaks.
  • Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and practicing mindful meditation techniques can also help reduce stress levels.

Stress relief is necessary for anyone looking to maintain mental and physical health. Unfortunately, not all stress relief methods are created equal. Some of the unhealthy stress relievers that people resort to coping with their stress can have long-lasting negative impacts on their health.

This article will discuss some of the unhealthy stress relievers that can actually hurt your overall well-being.

How Does Stress Affect Us?

man feeling angry screaming due to stress

As we mentioned before, stress is our body’s response to any demand. When we feel threatened, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol helps to increase our heart rate and blood pressure to have more energy to deal with the threat. This “fight or flight” response is designed to help us survive in dangerous situations.

However, the demands of modern life mean that we are constantly bombarded with big and small stressors. This can lead to chronic stress, which occurs when the body remains in a high alert for extended periods. Chronic stress can have severe consequences for our physical and mental health.

For example, chronic stress can contribute to anxiety and depression. It can also lead to heart disease, weight gain, digestive problems, and difficulty sleeping. In fact, studies have shown that chronic stress can actually weaken our immune system and make us more susceptible to illness.

Adverse Coping Mechanisms for Stress

When a person is feeling stressed, they often turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms to cope. These include smoking, excessive drinking, overeating, and using drugs or other substances.

Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol can be used to cope with day-to-day stress, but it should be done in moderation. Sadly, some people become too reliant on alcohol, becoming an addiction. Alcohol addiction can lead to serious health problems like liver disease, high blood pressure, and brain damage.

Someone who’s suffering from alcohol addiction may need to seek help from sober living treatment programs to get sober. These programs can provide the resources and support needed to get sober and prevent relapse.


woman high with a smoke in her mouth

Smoking has long been seen as one of the go-to stress relievers for many people. However, smoking does nothing actually to reduce stress levels – in fact, studies have shown that smokers often report higher levels of stress than non-smokers due to the addictive nature of nicotine and its associated withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, smoking can cause serious health problems such as lung cancer and heart disease.


Overeating or undereating are both common responses to feelings of anxiousness or depression. While it can seem like comfort food or skipping meals can provide temporary relief from stressful situations, these habits often lead to long-term health issues such as obesity or malnutrition. Eating healthy foods regularly and avoiding processed junk food is vital for maintaining overall health and well-being during high stress.

Drug Use

Drug abuse is one of the most dangerous ways to cope with stress, as it can devastate mental and physical health. Drugs like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine can cause serious side effects such as depression, anxiety, paranoia, insomnia, and appetite changes. Drug addiction can also lead to other serious issues like heart disease, stroke, and even death.

What Can We Do About It?

Fortunately, there are a number of things we can do to cope with stress. One of the most important things we can do is to learn how to manage our time effectively. This means setting aside time each day for relaxation and recreation—activities that allow us to de-stress and unwind.

Exercise is also a great way to reduce stress levels; not only does it release endorphins (the “feel-good” hormone), but it also helps to improve sleep quality and overall physical health. It’s also important to eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep each night. These things will help improve your mood and give you the energy you need to deal with stressful situations.

The Takeaway

Stress is an unavoidable part of life – but it doesn’t have to take over your life! Many healthy ways to cope with stress include taking regular exercise breaks throughout the day or practicing mindful meditation before bedtime. If you find yourself relying on unhealthy habits like drinking too much alcohol or smoking cigarettes to manage your stress levels, speak with a medical professional right away! Taking care of yourself during high stress will help ensure you stay healthy in the long run.

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