Do you ever wonder how you got in the habit of doing something? Watching too much television? Eating too much junk food?
Maybe it's even a healthy habit, like going for a run after school every day. What all these have in common is that they are efforts to reduce stress in our lives.
Stress can be a major cause of health problems. The question is whether your coping strategy is helping or hurting. If it's unhealthy, you should consider a shift to one that's healthy.
Some people deal with stress by eating, which can lead to overeating. Some people turn to drinking, which is fine as long as it's done in moderation. Some people withdraw socially and isolate themselves. Others vent, dumping their troubles on everyone around them. And then there are those who spend most of their waking free time in front of the TV.
Try exercise and humour (like laughing at something that's bothering you) as healthy coping techniques. Avoid overuse of alcohol, food or drugs, or withdrawal, self-pity and blaming others.
One sure way to beat stress is exercise. Not only will you reduce stress, you'll also help your heart and lungs and otherwise improve your health.
(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated June 2010)