We all live in a stressful world nowadays. But those of us seeking success pay for that success with our body and soul. Our success so often means stress too.

It’s no wonder we reach for a bottle of something that will numb the pain when we get home. “I deserve a drink!”, is the cry going out most evenings in so many households.

But who does it really serve, this drinking to celebrate the end of a stressful day? Certainly the alcohol industry is benefitting enormously. But are we?

Well not really, no. As an effective method of stress management, it completely sucks.  Essentially it is short-term thinking. Yes, you get the joy of opening the bottle, and the ritual of pouring your drink. Maybe you even get to share it with some friends or even your partner.

As you have that drink (or two) and do whatever it is that you do on an evening, you can feel the stress of the day disappearing behind you.

Except the stench of your crap day still lingers. At best you will think about it, at worst you will talk about it; rehashing it and recreating the bad feelings from your stressful day.  Then it’s, “Oh sod it! Let’s have another one.”

More harm than good?

The real problem comes in the morning when your ‘stress relief’ method turns against you and makes you groggy. Or, depending on how much of the bottle you had, gives you a hangover.

Inadvertently, what you’ve done is give yourself another stressful day because you can’t function properly when your mind and body are recovering from the toxins you ingested the night before.

You also need to take into account how much you drink and how often. Exactly how many evenings (or afternoons) do you feel like you deserve a drink?

Drinking is never effective in the long term for anything. Especially as you get older and your body starts to take longer to recuperate. Eventually your drinking becomes a prop that simply needs feeding but never gives anything back to you.

Of course, on top of all the obvious disadvantages of drinking as a stress management tool, the stress of whatever it is you are having to deal with every day is still there in the morning. Still unresolved. Still bothering you. Still causing you stress.

Did you know stress accounts for 44% of work-related ill health and loses the UK economy more than 15 million work days each year?

Many of us complain about headaches, stomach pains, trouble sleeping, irritability and difficulty concentrating.

Sure, you can have any of these symptoms without a drink, but you will have them a lot more often if drinking is your sole stress management regime.

The Stress Paradox

Most people think that when, ‘All that stuff I have to deal with goes away, so will my stress.” But that is the Stress Paradox! Actually, when you deal effectively with your stress levels, all ‘that stuff’ will dissolve, and here’s why:

  • When we get stressed the first thing we lose is our perspective. That means all of our molehills become mountains. Tiny problems unnecessarily become major dramas.
  • The second thing to go is our positivity. It’s almost impossible to be positive when we are stressed. This is another paradox. We need to be positive to find a solution to what is stressing us out but what is stressing us out is preventing us being positive.
  • Thirdly, it’s impossible to come up with creative solutions when we are stressed. Why? Because when something is stressing us out, all we do is go over and over it in our minds. We get so locked into the injustices that we can’t tap into the vast creative solution finder that resides in our subconscious minds.

Having that well deserved drink in the evenings on a regular basis can only ever exasperate the effects of a stressful day. It effectively numbs us out but it doesn’t address anything. It is an avoidance tool.

So what’s the answer then?

You have to do some effective stress busting. As soon as you get home, instead of reaching for the bottle, you need to reset your mind and body so that you can regain your perspective, become more positive and find solutions that will actually change things for the better for you.

Now you have a choice. This is where it gets a bit tricky, doesn’t it? The easy short-term solution – have a drink? Or the long term-solution which takes a bit more courage, a little more effort and a great deal more commitment and discipline?

Remember, there is always a price to pay. Choose a drink and you feel better for a while but your stressful days will be more frequent, and your health might even suffer too if you do it often enough. Or you can pay the price up front and get the benefit of peace of mind and body, clarity, creativity, positivity, and the overall feeling of being in control of your mind, your body and your life.

The Solution

This is a deceptively simple method of stress reduction that works a treat. The drop in stress levels is so dramatic that it can actually be scary for people who have become addicted to stress.

Drinking numbs the feelings that truly effective stress busting reveals. Are you brave enough to try the following?

Instead of reaching for your bottle, try this for a couple of weeks instead. Every day, when you arrive home from work, set aside thirty minutes of Me Time. Lock yourself away in your sacred place (bedroom, toilet, shed, wherever that is for you).

For the first 10-20 minutes listen to a guided visualisation recording. If you are able, meditate instead.

After that, sit quietly alone in silence until your thirty minutes are up. Then get on with your evening. This sitting time is when your subconscious provides you with all your magical solutions, so don’t miss it out.

Do this every day for a week and you will amaze yourself. Do it before work as well and miracles will happen in every area of your life.

Do it for a month and your life will never be the same again. Imagine that – success without the stress. That’s something you DO deserve. @TheVividCoach (Click to Tweet!)

John Freeman is the creator of the Elite Stress Coaching Program, the author of Vivid Visualisation: Stress without Stress, and specialises in helping people rapidly reduce their stress levels. Discover more at johnfreeman-stressbuster.com.



Image courtesy of Taylor Davidson.