top of page

What are Short Term Energy Relieving Behaviors?

Updated: Jan 8

Following a break up, or any other major loss, have you noticed a change in your behavior; things like eating or drinking more? These behaviors become distractions we use to avoid grief and the activities we use to “take our minds off of it” are considered STERBs.

What is a STERB?

STERB stands for Short Term Energy Relieving Behaviors. These are activities we use to distract ourselves from painful feelings that follow a major loss.

Have you heard the stereotype about what women do after a break up? We eat ice cream, go shopping or find someone new to date. These activities are considered short-term energy relieving behaviors.

Although most STERBs are not harmful in themselves, they can become a crutch for how we move forward in life. Let's take shopping as an example. There’s nothing wrong with shopping, but if shopping is used to avoid feelings—to make ourselves feel better—then not only are we avoiding dealing with our emotions, but we may also end up with financial problems. It gets worse when shopping no longer gives us the relief and stops working (this is why it’s called short-term).