How to Die Young From Stress
By Colin Turpin, MA, LPC-C
Edmond Family Counseling
As a counselor, people always ask me about how to have more stress in their lives. I will frequently get questioned about tips and tricks to stop being so happy and relaxed all of the time. I get it! You all had wonderful, prosperous, restful years and need some advice on how to bring some stressful excitement back into your lives. Well worry no more, as I have compiled five strategies below that can keep you more stressed than a neurotic cat on bath day:
- Take on too many projects and responsibilities. Stress is the measure of how much ‘force’ is being pushed on a person at a time. A quick way to increase this would be to take on more activities, especially if you don’t have time to do them well. Make sure you always say yes to any favor asked of you with no regard on its impact on your psyche. Healthy work/life balance can be disastrous for the stress in your everyday life.
- Focus on the negative things in your life. The more that we concentrate on what is wrong, disappointing or out of our control, the more that our mind and body will believe that our situation is dire. This may show up as despair or even as an alert state of fight or flight. Maximize the amount of time that your body is in survival mode to keep the stress flowing. When positive or solution-focused thoughts come into your mind, push them out at once.
- Practice discontentment. Another method of increasing stress is to never be satisfied with the things that you have. Sure, your things are nice, but what if they were better? Always be looking for that next new tech gadget, higher paying job, or better behaving significant other. Avoid gratitude for what you have at all cost, as this will quickly undermine your discontentment. Focus on complaining about all of your problems, no matter how minor or trivial they might be.
- Minimize your support network. Seek to isolate yourself as much as possible and to solve all of your problems on your own. NEVER ask for help when you need it. The support of friends, family, or trusted community members can be devastating to your level of stress. Teach yourself that others would not help if you asked, or perhaps even that you are unworthy of being supported. Take all of the burden of your circumstances so that you can also take all of the blame if it goes wrong.
- Use unhealthy coping skills. Coping skills are a commonly cited tool to use when stress is abundant. Some coping, however, when used correctly can actually increase the amount of distress in one’s life. Why face your problems directly? Just simply distract yourself every time you face a new issue. Make sure to use unhealthy practices like overeating or substance abuse to affect your body long-term. Under no circumstances should you set time limits when you relax; just avoid the problem until it becomes bigger.
These skills should be used in combination to create a truly stressful life. Continuous stress over the course of years has shown to affect all parts of one’s life including medical issues, sleep problems, and a lower life expectancy. Stress can also make current mental health problems worse because it creates a larger barrier to healthy change. Whatever you do, do not reach out and talk to mental health professionals when experiencing prolonged psychological distress. Overextending yourself, being negative, practicing discontentment, avoiding help, and using unhealthy coping will get you that sought-after gray head of hair in no time! Happy stressing!
Colin Turpin, MA, LPC-C, is a staff therapist at Edmond Family Counseling. Edmond Family Counseling is a non-profit organization. We may be reached 405-341-3554 to schedule an appointment with one of our professional counselors. Donations may be made to Edmond Family Counseling, 1251 N. Broadway, Edmond, OK 73034, or online @www.edmondfamily.org by clicking the YELLOW DONATE button. Follow us on our Facebook Page @ Edmond Family Counseling for additional information regarding mental health awareness.