For many with alcohol or substance use disorders, alcohol or drug use was a mechanism for dealing with stress in their life or avoiding unpleasant emotions. When individuals stop using, it is important to have other coping tools in place, as stress and difficult emotions are an inevitable part of life.
Healthy stress management can include techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. Learning to breathe deeply and relax your body can make an incredible difference when you become overwhelmed by stress or negative emotions.
Physical activity can reduce the body’s response to stress and the way you manage your stress. Exercising, walking your dog, dancing, or going for a walk are all good ways to reduce or prevent the effects of stress. Picking an activity you enjoy and incorporating it into your daily life will have a positive impact on the way you handle stress in your life in the long-term.
Self Care and “Me” time are crucial in reducing the impact of stress, so set aside time to just chill. Be sure to do things that feel good, relax, and prioritize you! Take a bath or get a massage. Make time to do something you enjoy each and every day.
Having a support system is crucial to being mentally healthy. Regular human connection and interaction can help reduce stress levels and the possibility of handling stress negatively.
It is also important to acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself to feel them. Giving yourself permission to do so will be helpful.
Lastly, getting in the habit of meditating even for a few minutes on a regular basis can restore your calm and emotional well-being. There are many different types of meditation including guided meditation and mindfulness meditation.
Practicing a meditation that works for you on a daily basis can help you broaden your awareness, live in the present moment, and reduce the impact of stress.
If you or someone you know is experiencing addiction, developing an adequate treatment plan is essential to achieve recovery. A free service like Freedom From Addiction can be of help to explore the different treatment options available. For 24/7 assistance, call 1.855.RECOVER or 1.855.732.6837.
Dr. Rachel Needle has specialized training in the area of substance use disorders. She is a professional consultant to substance abuse facilities and assists them in expanding and enhancing clinical programming. Dr. Needle also does expert training on the topic of substance abuse, mental illness, and sexual health for staff members at residential and outpatient facilities that specialize in alcohol and substance use disorders.
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