5 Stress Busters to Avoid

Medical Reviewer
View as:|
1 of 6

We cope with stress in many different ways, and while some methods may appear to give relief, they are simply stacking up more problems. Here’s my shortlist of some of the worst stress busters around and the reasons why.


Alcohol is easy to obtain, socially acceptable and gives a quick result in tension reduction. But you could end up making your stress worse. The more heavily and regularly people drink alcohol, the more they start to depend on it, and the more likely their anxiety, depression and other mental health problems are set to increase.

Sweet and salty foods

Stress increases the amount of cortisol in the body, which in turn switches on our appetite for high-calorie foods. Ironically, stress can also cause people to skip meals, which increases the desire to snack. Check yourself before you snack–are you really hungry or are you reacting to stress? A well-balanced diet and regular eating habits will help to reduce cravings.

Cigarette smoking

Ask a smoker the reasons they smoke and you’re almost guaranteed to find stress relief on the list. In fact, the relief that comes from smoking lies in the fact that it satisfies the addiction. Nicotine actually increases anxiety, so the tension smokers feel between cigarettes is due to the reduction in the effects of nicotine.


Angry behavior is a sure sign you aren’t coping well with stress. Health issues associated with anger are high blood pressure, depression, digestive problems, heart disease and increased risk of colds and other infections. The way to manage anger isn’t to roar, it’s to find ways of identifying the causes and manage it in the short and long term.


In the short term, denialcan be a way of filtering traumatic issues until we can adapt to them, but long-term denial isn’t helpful. Moving beyond denial may be difficult, uncomfortable and time consuming, but whether the issue is work-related, health- or relationship-based, being stuck in denial means you can not move forward unless the issue is resolved.