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Addicted to stress: Understanding, recognizing and breaking through

Stress is the body's natural response to challenging situations, but it can also contain an addictive element that can creep into a person's life. In my experience as an integrative hypnotherapist, I have often seen how people can unintentionally become dependent on stress. Here's an in-depth look at how this addiction can unfold, why relaxation after a stressful day can be so difficult, what happens physiologically and neurologically during this stress addiction, how to recognize the signs and, most importantly, what to do about it .

The vicious circle of stress addiction

Stress can become addictive because of the adrenaline and cortisol spikes that produce a feeling of alertness and excitement. In the hustle and bustle of modern life, people can unconsciously get carried away in a cyclical pattern of constant tension and pressure to perform. This can ultimately lead to a psychological dependence on stress as a motivator for performance and self-esteem.

Why relaxation can be so challenging

After a stressful day, relaxation can be difficult due to the disruption of hormone balance, especially the increased levels of adrenaline and cortisol that keep the body on alert. Furthermore, mentally replaying stressful situations can make it difficult to calm the mind.

Physiological and neurological aspects of stress addiction

When stress addiction develops, changes in the brain may occur, including increased sensitivity to stress stimuli and decreased activity in the brain areas responsible for relaxation and emotional regulation. This can lead to a cycle in which the ability to relax and avoid stress is affected, making it increasingly difficult to relax.

How to recognize and break stress addiction

Stress addiction can be recognized by symptoms such as constant restlessness, difficulty relaxing, constant thoughts about work and achievements, as well as an increased sensitivity to stressful situations. To break this pattern, it is essential to raise awareness, work on stress management techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation, and establish clear boundaries between work and play.

Below are some practical examples that can illustrate the presence of stress addiction in daily life:

  1. Constant thoughts about work:

  2. Lack of boundaries between work and private life:

  3. Aversion to quiet moments:

  4. Perfectionism and self-esteem linked to performance:

  5. Physical restlessness and tension-related complaints:

Recognition and Action:

Recognizing these practical examples is a first step towards change. Individuals can then take action by making conscious choices to maintain a healthy work-life balance, integrating relaxation into their routine, and not defining themselves solely by their achievements.

Through this awareness, people can break the negative cycles and take steps towards a healthier relationship with stress and relaxation.

The Path to Recovery

Breaking the addictive cycle of stress requires patience, self-compassion and utilizing holistic approaches such as therapy, meditation, regular exercise and cultivating healthy lifestyle habits. By striving for a balanced lifestyle that balances rest and work, individuals can find their way to sustainable well-being and emotional balance.

Stress addiction is a challenge, but with awareness, dedication and the right tools, people can find their way step by step to a healthier relationship with stress and relaxation.

For further delving into this topic and personal guidance in this process, I invite you to contact me and schedule a conversation!

I'd love to see you!

With love and compassion,


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