One of the most common reasons why people turn to drugs and alcohol is because of the stress in their lives. They might have a high amount of emotional stress, such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, or a child moving away from home. A person might also have a high amount of occupational stress, such as an upcoming deadline, a conflict with co-workers, or feeling stuck in their job. A person might also have family stress if there are relationships that are unhealthy or even abusive. There are many forms of stress. However, no matter what forms it comes in, there are healthy ways to manage stress without having to turn to drugs or alcohol.
In fact, during drug addiction treatment, it’s common for a recovering addict to learn healthy coping tools in order to avoid the use of drugs or alcohol as a means to cope. It’s also common during drug addiction treatment to learn how to implement those coping tools, especially when feeling triggered. In fact, treatment might also include an exploration of one’s triggers so that a person can feel more empowered to make a healthy choice when triggered versus feeling victimized by the triggering experience.
If you are in drug addiction treatment or you simply recognize the need for healthier ways to cope with your life, here are suggestions for managing stress in a healthy way:
- Yoga is a practice, a form of exercise, which invites an integrated experience of body and mind. Its effects can be experienced immediately as well as over time.
- Meditation is also a very calming practice that can also produce healing experiences. Although meditation might be difficult at first, the challenge at the beginning is worth the rewards.
- Deep Breathing can be an essential tool, particularly right in intense moments of stress that might otherwise lead to another coping mechanism that is dysfunctional.
- Exercise releases endorphins and promotes emotional well-being. You can even try running in place, jumping rope, or walking around the block if you are at work or have any time limitations.
- Use Guided Imagery to take yourself into a dreamy place to relax your body and mind. Or you can simply close your eyes and picture a peaceful place, such as a sandy beach or waterfall. Or think of a fond memory, such as your child’s first steps or time spent with friends.
- Rely on your spirituality. A belief in a higher power can be a great comfort when stressed. In whatever way that feels comfortable for you, reaching out to a higher power can provide a sense of relief and consolation.
If you or someone you know is struggling from an addiction, contact a mental health provider. If it is decided that a person needs to attend drug addiction treatment, it’s possible that he or she may learn new ways to cope with stressful moments, such as the above listed techniques. With new ways of managing stress, it’s possible for a person to avoid the use of alcohol and drugs.
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