Out of 10, how stressed do you feel at the moment? I hope it’s a low number! If it’s not, today’s tip is designed to help you.

Often we spend time learning about new activities and habits that lead to wellbeing, yet we remain blind to the habits we have that promote stress instead. I hope this helps you to make some positive shifts towards greater health, wellbeing and resilience to stress!

5 Habits of Highly Stressed People (and What to Do Instead)

As humans, we’ often do things we know we shouldn’t do. Yet it can feel like we are helpless to stop.


One answer is stress.

When we’re under high levels of stress, we act out of instinct and/or habit – as opposed to knowledge. This is because it’s a faster decision that is made from within our mid-brain rather than our higher order thinking brain.

For many people, there are some go-to habits we resort to in times of stress. They give us quick energy and help us to feel like we’re tackling our challenges. Yet, these habits also eliminate vital elements that can actually reduce our stress levels.

Counterproductive right?

Action Steps

Here are some of the counterproductive habits of highly stressed people – and what to do instead. See which resonate for you and your life…

  1.    Regularly eating unhealthy foods and/or skipping meals 

When we’re stressed, our bodies need greater nourishment for energy, stamina and resilience. Not junk food, or worse yet, no food at all. We crave the energy of fat, starch and sugar yet they only give short term gain, long term problems. Try to choose natural, wholesome, healthy foods instead – at least most of the time. 🙂

  1. Skimping on sleep

Sleep is essential for a healthy and balanced body and mind, yet stress often leads us to go to bed later, get up earlier and sleep poorly. Adequate sleep resets your brain and repairs any damage in your body caused by stress. Don’t shortchange yourself!

  1. Withdrawing from people

When we’re stressed, we can become so task focused that we reduce interactions with people – even supportive people. Withdrawing from people can leave you feeling isolated which can contribute to even higher stress levels. Make an effort to interact even when you don’t feel like it – it’ll boost your happy hormones (which offset stress hormones).

  1. Not getting enough physical activity

A healthy body is a happy body. Our bodies are built to move. The more you move, the more you’ll clear out those stress hormones and reach a better sense of calm and balance.

  1. Falling into Superhero Syndrome

Yep, it’s a thing. Superhero Syndrome is characterised by thinking that you’re the only one who can do something. As a result, you run yourself ragged and can end up miserable. If you recognise this in your behaviour, try to delegate and accept help even when you don’t want to.

What are you doing at the moment that is enhancing your stress rather than your wellbeing?

Choose one thing and make a positive change. Then enjoy the difference it makes to how you feel!

Adele Sinclair is a wellness coach and trainer who focuses on mental wellbeing at work. She has a background in management and experienced job burnout twice as a result of ongoing work stress. If you liked this article, you'll love Adele's coaching programs to help you with strategies for a great worklife.