Stress: Dealing with Addictive Pangs


How have you coped with the stress that has been triggered by Covid-19? 

What kind of activities have you engaged in?

Covid-19 protocols like social distancing have come with unpleasant experiences that have increased the different types of addictions. It has also interfered with recovery from addiction. 

Whereas misuse of alcohol and drugs are some of the well-known addictions, other kind of addictions have come to surface. 


Addiction may start as a way of trying to cope with stress but with time one gets hooked to that new behavior. The tragedy is that these coping mechanisms are often self-defeating. 

They may start as a way of dealing with anxiety, but they come with a bounce-back effect.

What is Self-defeating Behavior

self defeating


Addictions make us feel like prisoners. It is self-handicapping.

Besides, addictions affect those close to us .Co-dependent relationships are likely to be established  -  Read more... 


Addictions Intervention

It is important to note that some addictions require professional intervention.

If you feel that addictions have become part of you and feel powerless, the most rewarding action to take, is to seek for therapy/ professional support. 

Tips on Addictions


1.    Accept, as opposed to, minimizing the struggle

Often addictions are minimized by those experiencing the struggle. Statements like the following are used: 

“It is not that bad”; “I have the power to stop it if I want to”; "Everyone else is struggling like me".

It is, therefore, important to accept and acknowledge the struggle of addiction one maybe going through. Part of being mindfulness, is to accept and acknowledge our present experiences. 

stress addiction

2.    Discover the triggers

When do you find yourself being vulnerable to that addictive behavior ?

What kind of feelings or thoughts trigger or drive you to the addictive behavior?

Self-awareness is important and it is part of our growth journey.


man falling

3.    Burst the Trigger

What do you do with the trigger? Do you allow it to linger for some time?

Identifying the root cause of an addictive behavior is critical in 'self-understanding".  

But more importantly is looking for ways to address the real issue. It could be that thorny relationship, whether at home or with your supervisor - is it possible to engage in a problem-solving plan?

Remember if the issue is not addressed, the addictive behavior will put you down.

Asking for professional help to address the underlying issue is a sign of courage.  


4.    Immediate Replacement

When an object is thrown at you, what do you do? You do not just stand there waiting to be hit. You duck.

Similarly, when the thought of engaging with that addictive behavior 'hits' you, quickly look for a way to duck. Take that walk, talk to that supportive friend, engage with that hobby, read that book or whatever works in your context. 


5.    Proactive Plan

Lets pause and think about someone who suffers from diabetes. Realizing the need for a high fiber diet, they plan beforehand the type of food they need to eat. They do not wait to be caught off guard when the hungers pangs strike. They need to be ready with a healthy snack. 

Subsequently, as you deal with an addictive behavior, you need to have a ‘healthy snack”. The healthy alternative is having a plan that spells the kind of activities you will engage in when the addictive pangs hit you. 

It does not matter what kind of addictive behavior, just have a Healthy Alternative that you can turn to. It becomes your healthy snack.