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10 Weirdest Ways that People Manage Stress

Stress is a normal human reaction to life's pressures and challenges. We spend most of our lives trying to figure out the best ways to avoid stress and keep it under control with exercise, sleep, a balanced diet and deep breathing exercises. But when those traditional stress relievers no longer work, people will find alternative and often unhealthy methods to cope with their stress. Here are the 10 weirdest ways that people manage stress:

  1. Gambling: Gambling may seem like a weird way to handle stress, but many people find comfort in playing against the odds. Those who have an insatiable urge to gamble, despite potentially negative consequences, are often classified as gambling addicts. Gambling provides an adrenaline rush and sense of euphoria when you win, therefore, someone who is depressed or burdened by a lot of stress might find solace in gambling.
  2. Self-Injury/Cutting: Some people relieve stress by deliberately hurting themselves. This self-induced pain is often done by cutting or burning the skin and engaging in dangerous activities. People who injure themselves aren't trying to commit suicide, but it could be fatal if the injuries are serious enough. Self-injury is often accompanied by several mental illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder and eating disorders. No matter the circumstance, deliberately harming oneself is an unhealthy way to cope with stress, emotional pain and anger.
  3. Hoarding: Hoarding is a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), in which individuals collect an excessive amount of items that are generally useless or of little value. Hoarding can also involve collecting animals. For many individuals, hoarding things is a way to relieve stress and overcome other issues. Hoarders feel safe and secure when they have their belongings nearby, yet it becomes an additional source of stress when it starts to interfere with their safety, health and social life.
  4. Hair Pulling: Hair pulling, also known as trichotillomania, is a disorder that causes people to excessively pull out their hair. This irresistible urge to pluck out hair from the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes and other parts of the body can be a form of stress relief for certain individuals. Although the cause of trichotillomania is not clear, it's often associated with genetic and environmental factors or chemical imbalances. This disorder is not a normal way of managing stress and should not be taken lightly.
  5. Vomiting: Some people feel a sense of relief to vomit when they're stressed. Whether the stress has been brought on by nerves, an eating disorder or another form of pressure, forcing yourself to vomit is not a healthy way of coping with stress. Those who engage in self-induced vomiting may feel temporary relief, but this disordered behavior may lead to more sever eating disorders, malnutrition, extreme weight loss and other serious health problems.
  6. Tattoos: Getting tattoos is another odd way that people manage stress. Whether it's the touch of the needle, immense pain or increase of endorphins to the brain, the experience of getting tattoos can be very soothing to stressed individuals. Tattooing may also be a less obvious form of self-mutilation, which can be a cause for concern.
  7. Overworking: It's not uncommon for stressed individuals to try to manage their stress by increasing their workload and working overtime. Many people think they can manage their stress and that things will get easier if they just work longer and harder than normal. However, overworked people may end up making more mistakes and increasing their stress levels because they haven't allowed themselves to relax and get an adequate amount of rest needed to be efficient throughout the day.
  8. Not Dealing With It at All: Many people manage their stress by not dealing with it at all. These people turn a blind eye when they are faced with something stressful and put their problems on the back burner, hoping their issues will disappear or resolve themselves. Others may shut down completely and go into a catatonic state. Ignoring stress will only make it worse, and could lead to further problems.
  9. Spending: Compulsive shopping and spending is another weird way people manage their stress. Treating yourself to a nice bracelet or new pair of shoes may seem innocent enough, but this compulsive desire to regularly spend money that you probably don't have can become a very serious problem. Compulsive shoppers face several negative consequences, such as extreme debt, strained relationships, ruined credit history, anxiety and additional stress.
  10. Physically Fighting: Today, more and more people cope with their stress by physically fighting. Exercising is simply not enough for these adrenaline junkies, who need to let out their aggression on someone else or feel the pain of being hit. These people may be hotheads who are always picking fights, or an unsuspecting coworker who's a member of an underground fight club. No matter their preference, fighting is not a normal or healthy way of managing your stress. Not only are you inflicting injury on someone else, but you too could get severely hurt.

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