Coping skills count most when there is something to cope with… like a crisis. But the techniques we use to handle stress are learned. This can be a good thing or a bad thing.
While some items (including food and other substances) may result in short-term satisfaction, they can set you up for a long-term disappointment — or worse.
So do yourself a favor and ditch these five things — or at least be prepared to ditch them. That way your mind and body can better cope with the next crisis that could be just around the corner.
#1: Sweets. This category includes candy, soda, even artificial, sugary juices — you name it. The issue with sugar-packed goods is that shortly after your energy goes up, it comes crashing back down.
This leaves you fatigued and can impair your judgment in a life-threatening event. Not to mention the fact that sugar is also linked to high cholesterol, heart disease and obesity. All three of these conditions are a hindrance to your mobility in the event of a crisis.
#2: Energy Drinks. Here’s another no-no. Energy drinks are generally packed with elements that can send you into cardiac arrest, according to studies. They are also linked to increased anxiety (aka poorer decision-making skills), migraines and nervousness. These aren’t exactly helpful for keeping a clear mind.
Another serious danger is that the ingredients found in energy drinks can have an adverse interaction with prescription drugs you may be taking — especially antidepressants.
#3: Cigarettes. Studies show that of the many reasons folks start smoking, stress is close to the top of the list. Tobacco can have the short-term effects of relaxation, mild euphoria and concentration. But the clear downfall with this coping mechanism is that smoking can lead to cancer, addiction, confusion and seizures.
In the event you’re running for your life, those cigarettes won’t exactly help with your breathing. Smokers usually have a difficult time with cardio. This is a recipe for disaster if you need to be quick on your feet in a time of crisis.
If someone addicted to nicotine goes cold turkey for a period of time (especially during a crisis), the results can be less than pleasurable. Withdrawal symptoms include sweating, nausea, depression, irritability, headaches and difficulty concentrating.
#4: Alcohol. With regard to crises, alcohol usage has negative side effects in the short and long term. In its initial stages, alcohol use can lead to slurred speech, emotional changes, impaired coordination and sleep disruption. It can also cause liver disease, blackouts, nausea, loss of consciousness and, in the worst-case scenario, death.
Unless it’s rubbing alcohol to clean a cut, maybe nix the booze for your bug-out bag. And the idea that liquor will keep your body warm in the event you’re stuck in the cold? Studies show that’s a myth…
When you drink alcohol, you may have the sensation of feeling warm and fuzzy. However, your body’s core temperature is lowering. Alcohol does nothing to protect your body from the cold or hypothermia.
#5: High-Sodium Foods. High sodium intake disrupts the balance of the water-sodium ratio in your body. This can lead to water retention in various body parts, including your feet, legs, ankles, etc. The difficult thing with swollen feet and ankles is that they make it hard to move around, especially without agitating the condition.
Aside from being “bloated,” an imbalance in the water-sodium ratio also creates a strain on your heart and blood vessels. This can lead to high blood pressure and subsequently heart disease or even stroke.
Meet the Four Replacements
#1: Fresh Fruit. Grab a banana or berries to satisfy your sweet tooth. Not only is the natural sugar better than processed sugar, but fruit has great health benefits.
#2: Vitamin B-12. Ditch your energy drink and opt for vitamin B-12. It’ll give you natural energy. Either buy vitamin B-12 tablets or get vitamin B-12 shots from your physician.
#3: Yoga/Meditation. Yoga kills two birds with one stone. Ditch both the booze and tobacco and substitute a yoga or meditation session for increased peace, alertness and concentration.
#4: Veggies. Instead of the potato chips or sodium-packed foods, use veggies as an alternative. Cucumbers, carrots and broccoli all make for great replacements.
You likely already know the importance of keeping fruits and veggies in your diet. But fruits and veggies spoil fast and are not always in season. Plus, good luck trying to find them at a store in the case of a disaster.
It’s been pretty much impossible to get fruits and veggies guaranteed to last 25 years so that you’ll be protected in a crisis… until now.