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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm 100% positive I'm not alone in this, so I was wondering what stress-induced habits each of you guys have and what ways y'all combat them (if you do at all).

For me, I'm really trying to stop picking at my skin, especially my back, because it's leaving scars and looks terrible :/. I could also do without the constant nail biting and self-loathing masturbation (not trying to make anyone uncomfortable, but it needs to be said).

I've heard about exercising as a way to healthily combat stress, but I'm pretty sedentary so I'd have to ease into it. I also think I just need to forgive myself more when I slip up and make my expectations more realistic.

How do y'all deal with stress and the bad habits that come with it? List whatever comes to mind.
 

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MOTM June 2012
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I was actually thinking about making a thread like this myself, but you beat me to it, loll. I do alot of bad shit sometimes, but I wouldn't call drinking, smoking, binge eating, nail biting, or even masturbating a habit even though I've done all of those things under the right amount of stress/depression.

The one that is the worst for me, is something I'm really ashamed of and embarrassed about, even more so than those I listed above. I have a terrible habit of pulling my hair out. I have really beautiful hair and I can't stop pulling at it and ripping it out, and it sounds really fucked up, but I don't know why I do it. But it's pissing me off because it kind of looks like I'm thinning or going bald in some areas now because of it. I'm also growing out my hair for cancer, and everytime I pull it out, that's more work to grow it back.

Anyways, I'm not really sure how to stop it either. I thought of maybe replacing it with another habit, but not really sure what that would be either. Not even sure why I do it. I know I sometimes massage my scalp and that feels really good too, so maybe it has to do with a bunch of nerve endings or something there? Not sure. But yeah, not too proud of that, loll.
 

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i crack my fingers. not much, not a lot, but all the time when i'm not doing anything with them.
it looks like i'm mad and a nutso to other people, but i can't help it. it's caused by my excessive nervousness (i'm almost never relaxed, always overthinking) but also when i'm simply watching a movie or whatever. it's become automatic.

also i still bite not nails, but the skin around them. terrible.

also, facial expressions. i'm very ashamed to admit this but when i'm intensely thinking of something i can show some facial expressions out, a look or posing my mouth some way. omg i AM a nutso :D
 

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I'm 100% positive I'm not alone in this, so I was wondering what stress-induced habits each of you guys have and what ways y'all combat them (if you do at all).

For me, I'm really trying to stop picking at my skin, especially my back, because it's leaving scars and looks terrible :/. I could also do without the constant nail biting and self-loathing masturbation (not trying to make anyone uncomfortable, but it needs to be said).

I've heard about exercising as a way to healthily combat stress, but I'm pretty sedentary so I'd have to ease into it. I also think I just need to forgive myself more when I slip up and make my expectations more realistic.

How do y'all deal with stress and the bad habits that come with it? List whatever comes to mind.

Music, healthy and clean living (no sugars alcohol etc) and plenty of exercise... But music is my biggest stress reliever. Also this may sound boring but a healthy sleeping pattern/structure is also helping me alot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was actually thinking about making a thread like this myself, but you beat me to it, loll. I do alot of bad shit sometimes, but I wouldn't call drinking, smoking, binge eating, nail biting, or even masturbating a habit even though I've done all of those things under the right amount of stress/depression.

The one that is the worst for me, is something I'm really ashamed of and embarrassed about, even more so than those I listed above. I have a terrible habit of pulling my hair out. I have really beautiful hair and I can't stop pulling at it and ripping it out, and it sounds really fucked up, but I don't know why I do it. But it's pissing me off because it kind of looks like I'm thinning or going bald in some areas now because of it. I'm also growing out my hair for cancer, and everytime I pull it out, that's more work to grow it back.

Anyways, I'm not really sure how to stop it either. I thought of maybe replacing it with another habit, but not really sure what that would be either. Not even sure why I do it. I know I sometimes massage my scalp and that feels really good too, so maybe it has to do with a bunch of nerve endings or something there? Not sure. But yeah, not too proud of that, loll.
That sucks :/. That kind of sounds like my sister... She wouldn't pull her hair out per-say, but she would scratch her head till it bled when she was in school.

I think something that might help, for me and you, would be to figure out something to do with our hands when we're not otherwise engaged. I tried doodling in class once and that actually helped.

Have you ever gone to a therapist and asked about it? That's something I think I'm doing this summer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
i crack my fingers. not much, not a lot, but all the time when i'm not doing anything with them.
it looks like i'm mad and a nutso to other people, but i can't help it. it's caused by my excessive nervousness (i'm almost never relaxed, always overthinking) but also when i'm simply watching a movie or whatever. it's become automatic.

also i still bite not nails, but the skin around them. terrible.

also, facial expressions. i'm very ashamed to admit this but when i'm intensely thinking of something i can show some facial expressions out, a look or posing my mouth some way. omg i AM a nutso :D
I bite the skin around my nails BAD. Have you tried fake nails? Sometimes that helps me because I don't want to mess them up.

I also crack my knuckles, but I could stop at any time. The nail biting and skin thing though is almost like a compulsion :/.

What's wrong with facial expressions? :laughing:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Music, healthy and clean living (no sugars alcohol etc) and plenty of exercise... But music is my biggest stress reliever. Also this may sound boring but a healthy sleeping pattern/structure is also helping me alot.
I need to remember the music thing... I don't listen to enough music. I also know I need more of a schedule for my days off. Maybe I just need to stop heeding the "I'd rather sit here and do nothing" moods :p.
 

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Fidgiting stuff: cracking knuckles, a bit of an oral fixation.

Dealing with stress: drinking and bad eating choices. These are like zombies; sometimes I can fight off these urges but they're always coming at me. I don't get hammered as much as I used to at least.
 

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Strenuous exercise and deep meditation are the only natural ways that I can fully get rid of my anxiety for a short while. On easing into exercise: it's a good idea if you want to avoid injury, but I find that I only get that massive, pleasurable endorphin rush if I've done something really difficult - lifting heavy weights, long cardio session etc.
 

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I was actually thinking about making a thread like this myself, but you beat me to it, loll. I do alot of bad shit sometimes, but I wouldn't call drinking, smoking, binge eating, nail biting, or even masturbating a habit even though I've done all of those things under the right amount of stress/depression.

The one that is the worst for me, is something I'm really ashamed of and embarrassed about, even more so than those I listed above. I have a terrible habit of pulling my hair out. I have really beautiful hair and I can't stop pulling at it and ripping it out, and it sounds really fucked up, but I don't know why I do it. But it's pissing me off because it kind of looks like I'm thinning or going bald in some areas now because of it. I'm also growing out my hair for cancer, and everytime I pull it out, that's more work to grow it back.

Anyways, I'm not really sure how to stop it either. I thought of maybe replacing it with another habit, but not really sure what that would be either. Not even sure why I do it. I know I sometimes massage my scalp and that feels really good too, so maybe it has to do with a bunch of nerve endings or something there? Not sure. But yeah, not too proud of that, loll.
It's not the first time I hear of this, I think it's actually not so uncommon, and if I remember correctly it is correlated to self harm (take this with a grain of salt). Therapists would ask patients to put any removed hair in a letter to check the progression on stopping the habbit, or so i've read.

As for me, I scratch my hair a lot (not directly removing hairs), but most of all i always pull of this little patch of skin in the middle of the upper lip as soon as it gets removable (or not THAT removable, in which case i bleed), which leads to a darker area if you pay attention.
 

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Exercise is definitely a great replacement for habits which come from stress. Other ways to handle this is to learn how to diminish stress in one's life. Identifying where stress is coming from and using healthy methods to diminish stress will decrease the habits. OR, if you're like some people, one starts a habit to cope with stress (biting nails) and it works to combat stress, but then they continue the habit for a different reason (fingernails "feel" long, don't have to get up and find clippers, etc...).

According to the latest findings in psychology about two years ago, the best form of motivation to help quit a habit or start a new healthy habit is internal motivation for an intrinsic reward. However, the best form of motivation to help begin a habit in the short term is external motivation via encouragement and support from others (this peaks at about 2-4 weeks into the new habit, so it can't really be sustained). So, looking at that, one can come up with all the reasons that are meaningful to them personally about why they want to quit a habit or why they want to start a new habit.

For me, I used to smoke so often, you wouldn't believe it. My dad smoked my whole life and I guess I never learned to "fear" it. Also, it wasn't until I already started smoking that actual scientific evidence linking smoking to poor health came out. After smoking regularly for 10 years, I stopped abruptly when I found out my dad was diagnosed with cancer. What was interesting for me is that I had tried to quit previously and it was hard, but the time I finally did quit, it wasn't hard at all. It was actually easy. So easy that I almost feel bad that I didn't "suffer" through it.

Not everyone gets an opportunity, though, to have such a Freudian experience. My dad was the most important relationship I ever had and something that threatened his life which I associated with smoking (it wasn't lung cancer) was a perfect way for me to get that extra motivation to quit.

However, that doesn't mean that one needs this in order for a motivation to be this powerful. Another potent way of invoking intrinsic motivation is by use of defense mechanisms - the very things that prevent people from beginning habits to begin with.

Look up any defense mechanism and pick the one you like - for whatever reason. Let's say you pick projection. The beauty of defense mechanisms is that they are automatic. However, another beautiful thing about defense mechanisms is that they are also extremely effective at changing behavior. So, let's pretend you want to quit drinking so much soda but you don't have much motivation to stop.

Every time you think about soda, get an urge to drink a soda, actually drink one, etc... employ projection first. "Oh, I just want to drink this soda because X does," or "I'm only drinking this soda because X told me a long time ago that they didn't like soda, but I knew they were only saying that because they wanted to hide the fact that they did."

Every time a person replaces a conscious thought with something that becomes unconscious, they are reprogramming their mind. Now this isn't a method that has been widely tested or one that many people would recommend. However, it's a fun activity and just for creative purposes alone, one can have a lot of fun with it. Think of replacing conscious thought with a defense mechanism that is supposed to eventually become unconscious as the exact reverse of hypnosis (which, by the way, works really well at least for some people).

Hope this helps or at least provided you with some entertainment! : )

edit to add: fidget cubes are all the rage with kids right now. My daughter, who we had tested for ADD, has gotten a lot of relief out of hers. She ended up scoring like a few points below the thresh hold to make an ADD diagnosis and she also diagnosed high in anxiety so me and her dad found different ways to help her and that fidget cube thing really seems to do wonders for her. I'm fidgety sometimes and I don't get it, but maybe that's something that someone reading this will see and end up getting some help from.

edit2: @Bad Hombre If you haven't ever seen/used one before, maybe this would help stimulate and relax the nerves better. I have only heard good things about them though I haven't ever tried one out. Apparently they are incredibly relaxing and it's better if someone else does it on you:

https://www.amazon.com/Body-Back-Company-12400000050-Massager/dp/B001IHXFQK?th=1
 

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Clenching my teeth even during the day. I read on the internet to rest the tongue between your teeth. Did that today and it seemed to help.

My posture isn't great and I have been trying to remind myself not to look down at the ground when I walk, keep my chin up and to pull my shoulders back.

I downloaded this App called Calm. It has sleep stories to help fall asleep, and guided meditations/breathing exercises to relax. It's a free App but only some of the stories/exercises are free (others you have to pay). If anyone on here may find it useful...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Exercise is definitely a great replacement for habits which come from stress. Other ways to handle this is to learn how to diminish stress in one's life. Identifying where stress is coming from and using healthy methods to diminish stress will decrease the habits. OR, if you're like some people, one starts a habit to cope with stress (biting nails) and it works to combat stress, but then they continue the habit for a different reason (fingernails "feel" long, don't have to get up and find clippers, etc...).

According to the latest findings in psychology about two years ago, the best form of motivation to help quit a habit or start a new healthy habit is internal motivation for an intrinsic reward. However, the best form of motivation to help begin a habit in the short term is external motivation via encouragement and support from others (this peaks at about 2-4 weeks into the new habit, so it can't really be sustained). So, looking at that, one can come up with all the reasons that are meaningful to them personally about why they want to quit a habit or why they want to start a new habit.

For me, I used to smoke so often, you wouldn't believe it. My dad smoked my whole life and I guess I never learned to "fear" it. Also, it wasn't until I already started smoking that actual scientific evidence linking smoking to poor health came out. After smoking regularly for 10 years, I stopped abruptly when I found out my dad was diagnosed with cancer. What was interesting for me is that I had tried to quit previously and it was hard, but the time I finally did quit, it wasn't hard at all. It was actually easy. So easy that I almost feel bad that I didn't "suffer" through it.

Not everyone gets an opportunity, though, to have such a Freudian experience. My dad was the most important relationship I ever had and something that threatened his life which I associated with smoking (it wasn't lung cancer) was a perfect way for me to get that extra motivation to quit.

However, that doesn't mean that one needs this in order for a motivation to be this powerful. Another potent way of invoking intrinsic motivation is by use of defense mechanisms - the very things that prevent people from beginning habits to begin with.

Look up any defense mechanism and pick the one you like - for whatever reason. Let's say you pick projection. The beauty of defense mechanisms is that they are automatic. However, another beautiful thing about defense mechanisms is that they are also extremely effective at changing behavior. So, let's pretend you want to quit drinking so much soda but you don't have much motivation to stop.

Every time you think about soda, get an urge to drink a soda, actually drink one, etc... employ projection first. "Oh, I just want to drink this soda because X does," or "I'm only drinking this soda because X told me a long time ago that they didn't like soda, but I knew they were only saying that because they wanted to hide the fact that they did."

Every time a person replaces a conscious thought with something that becomes unconscious, they are reprogramming their mind. Now this isn't a method that has been widely tested or one that many people would recommend. However, it's a fun activity and just for creative purposes alone, one can have a lot of fun with it. Think of replacing conscious thought with a defense mechanism that is supposed to eventually become unconscious as the exact reverse of hypnosis (which, by the way, works really well at least for some people).

Hope this helps or at least provided you with some entertainment! : )

edit to add: fidget cubes are all the rage with kids right now. My daughter, who we had tested for ADD, has gotten a lot of relief out of hers. She ended up scoring like a few points below the thresh hold to make an ADD diagnosis and she also diagnosed high in anxiety so me and her dad found different ways to help her and that fidget cube thing really seems to do wonders for her. I'm fidgety sometimes and I don't get it, but maybe that's something that someone reading this will see and end up getting some help from.

edit2: @Bad Hombre If you haven't ever seen/used one before, maybe this would help stimulate and relax the nerves better. I have only heard good things about them though I haven't ever tried one out. Apparently they are incredibly relaxing and it's better if someone else does it on you:

https://www.amazon.com/Body-Back-Company-12400000050-Massager/dp/B001IHXFQK?th=1
Wow! I really enjoyed reading this :). I had never thought about the defense mechanism thing... I'll do some research!

As for you and smoking, I can sympathize. My mom's parents smoked their whole lives and my mom smoked all the time when she was a young adult. She quit smoking but could never quit the nicotine so she now chews nicotine gum all the time (she leaves these packets everywhere!). Thankfully, I've never even thought of touching a cigarette because of how addicted she was and still is. I don't want to risk it :/.

That's CRAZY you mentioned the figit cube! I just ordered two of them last week, I'm super pumped! I, like your daughter, have ADD and some anxiety issues. I often figit and REALLY NEED to distract my hands so I don't constantly bite my nails or pick at my skin. Rubbing my fingers together kind of helps but I get bored. I really hope the cubes work!
 
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