Are You an Addict?

Are You an Addict?

Are You an Addict?

I’ve been doing quite a bit of productivity training lately, and I’ve heard so many people talk about their struggle with stress management.  In The Power of Full Engagement, authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz make an interesting point:  Stress is addictive.

The hormone adrenaline is really powerful.  For people who operate at high levels of intensity for long periods of time, they can actually get addicted to the “high” you get from adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol.

Are you secretly addicted to stress?  Are you enabling behavior that creates more stress in your life?

Here are 7 strategies to help you on your road to recovery:

#1 – Breathe

While the alternative isn’t a great option, most of us don’t breathe correctly.  Take time each day to breathe deeply.  When you start to feel stressed, breathe in through your nose, hold it, breathe out through your mouth.  Do each for 3-5 seconds.

#2 – Brain Dump

Get EVERYTHING out of your head and onto a piece of paper at least once a day.  We can only store a limited amount in our short-term memory.  When we feel overwhelmed, it is often because we’re trying to remember everything, and it’s impossible.  Write things down as you think of them, and devote 5-10 minutes a day to getting it out of your head and onto paper.

#3 – Set Goals

If we’re not careful, we’ll end up where we’re headed.  What do you want to accomplish?  Regularly take time to set goals and transfer daily action steps to your calendar.

#4 – Exercise

Holy cross-fit batman.  My lack of exercise and physical activity were taking a toll on me, and I decided I needed to step it up.  I started cross-fit twice a week, and aside
from being so sore I can’t walk, I can absolutely tell a difference in my energy level and state of mind.  Whether it’s walking, swimming, dancing, or any other type of physical activity, it is
critical to our health and well-being.

#5 – Think

How much time do you spend just thinking?  Most of us are so busy “doing” that we don’t take time to stop and think.  Whether you call it creative thinking or introspection, take 15-30 minutes a day and just let your mind wander.  I keep my phone near me so I can use the voice memo function to capture ideas.

#6 – Take a Break

Your body is going to take a break whether you choose to or not, so it might as well be on your terms.  Our mind and body must have time to rest.  This is not a luxury, it is a physical requirement.

#7 – Eat Your Frog

In his book, Eat That Frog, Brian Tracey suggests that if you eat a frog first thing in the morning, nothing else will be that awful for the rest of the day.  Our tendency is to procrastinate doing the things we don’t want to do, but we waste a ton of energy dreading doing it.  Instead, before you ever turn on your computer, check your Facebook page, or read your emails, pick your most difficult task of the day, your frog, and get it done.

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Read that again. 🙌 ...

I played piano from the time I was four years old until the age of 15 and during that time, I had a lot of recitals. I remember being so nervous before each recital. What if I played the wrong note? What if I forgot the music? My dad would look at me, hold my hands, and say:

Whatever you do, DO NOT think of pink elephants!!

At the time, I had no idea why in the world he would say this. All I do know is that when I sat down to play, all I saw were pink elephants, and I was able to tackle my nerves.

Turns out my dad was helping me to practice the ironic process theory which explains that when we try to suppress our thoughts, we focus on them even more. Seventy to 80% of our thoughts are negative and repetitive. If not managed, intrusive thoughts can lead to anxiety, depression, and a whole host of mental health challenges.

If you tend to get stuck in rumination, or if your thoughts sometimes get the best of you, here are a few ways to take back control:

1️⃣ Recognize that your thoughts are not facts.
2️⃣ Use your brain. Do a math problem, practice a different language, or play a puzzle game. When you access the prefrontal cortex, the higher level thinking part of your brain, you get out of the emotional limbic system.
3️⃣ Distract yourself. Sometimes a simple distraction gives you enough distance to quiet your intrusive thoughts.
4️⃣ Practice mindfulness.
5️⃣ See a therapist. When negative, intrusive thoughts impact your ability to do your job, maintain relationships, or start clouding your judgment, it may be time to get help. As someone with plenty of intrusive thoughts, therapy has helped me tremendously.

Don’t forget, your thoughts and feelings are not facts. They are simply habits that need to be shifted. Be patient with yourself, and if all else fails, whatever you do, DO NOT THINK OF PINK ELEPHANTS!

Pets provide a deep sense connection and unconditional love. I don’t know what I’d do without without these two nut jobs! Happy National Love Your Pet Day! ❤️🐶 #mindfulmonday #mindfulness #petsnuggles #ilovemydogs #petsofinstagram #nationalloveyourpetday ...

I hope your Friday includes donuts. 🍩 ...

Midweek reminder: Reset your mindset. 🧠 ...

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Anne Grady is a Speaker, Author, and #TruthBomb Dropper.

Anne shares practical strategies that can be applied both personally and professionally to improve relationships, navigate change, and triumph over adversity. And she’ll make you laugh while she does it. Anne is a two time TEDx speaker, and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company and Inc. magazines, CNN, ESPN, and FOX Business. She is the best selling author of 3 books. Her newest, Mind Over Moment: Harness the Power of Resilience, is available on Amazon now.


  1. Hi Anne, lately when I feel overwhelmed, usually the end of the day, listening to my ipod’s mixed playlist makes me sing and dance for a while that time passes so fast that I forget about any stressing tasks. By the next morning my mind feels more clear and new ideas to solve the problems comes to me. Thank you for these extra tips.

  2. Hi Anne!

    I always look forward to your posts, and Monday mornings are the perfect time to start my week out on the right track. I know all too well the long-term effects of the “stress high”-after awhile, your body will eventually “crash and burn”. It physically can’t keep producing those high levels of cortisol day after day indefinitely without wreaking havok on your body. Your tips today are words to live by-finding and keeping a sense of balance is what it’s all about. Thank you.

    • HI Amy,

      Great to hear from you! How are you???? Your family? Unfortunately, I know the affects stress has all too well myself. I’m working hard to follow my own advice every day 🙂

  3. Eat your frog! That is the greatest piece of advice for breaking procrastination habits that I’ve ever heard! If I can actually “swallow” that advice, I can see how it could change my work-life! I always start the day with the easiest tasks, and spend lots of time staring at the “frogs.” And day after day, the tasks I don’t want to do continue to be left undone which just creates more stress. This is the answer! I’m hanging this up on the wall next to my desk.

  4. These are great help to combat stress. I am sure many can relate, you are spot on with number 7. Nice blog Anne! Looking forward to more insightful and helpful posts from you.

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